As the biggest train-wreck season in Nashville Predators history draws to a close, there’s going to be a lot of reflection on what exactly went wrong for the the team. Injuries will shoulder some responsibility for the team’s poor showing, especially in the final third of the season, but there’s more to it than just that. Coaching and roster management play arguably just as big a role as the players on the ice. Nashville fans will have lots of time over an extra-long off-season to ponder whether anything could have been done differently on those fronts. I’m wondering all these things myself lately not just because it’s the end of the season, but because I have a key for the upcoming PC game Franchise Hockey Manager from OOTP Developments to give away.
Franchise Hockey Manager
Currently in a beta testing period ahead of its eventual release in September 2013, Franchise Hockey Manager allows you to take the reins of the Nashville Predators (or another hockey franchise in other major hockey leagues all around the world) and run things however you’d like. You make all the calls on hiring and firing staff; scouting and drafting; lines and tactics; contracts and salary caps; trades; and nearly every other major decision facing a general manager in the hockey world.
The final release version of Franchise Hockey Manager will also allow you to replay historical seasons dating back to the 1940s, allowing you to face down the same challenges that general managers of the past did. If you’ve ever wanted to relive the glory days of the Original Six, the initial NHL expansion era of the late 1960s, or the golden ages of the New York Islanders or Edmonton Oilers, this game will allow you to do just that later this year.
How to win your copy
If you’d like a chance to win a free copy of Franchise Hockey Manager (a $29.99 value) months before its official release, you just need to do two things.
2. In the comments below, tell me what key move you would have made between last summer and this March’s trading deadline to improve the Nashville Predators. Perhaps it’s a trade or a waiver pickup, or a free-agent signing in the off-season. Maybe you would have made changes to the team’s staff. Or maybe you have a genius tactical move that nobody else has considered. Well, share it with me! I want to know how your move would have addressed a key weakness of the Nashville Predators, what it would have cost the team, and how it would have affected their bottom-line performance after 48 games. Be sure to include a link to your Facebook/Twitter share for verification purposes.
Food for thought
Here are a few personnel issues I’ve thought about myself that might help you come up with an answer.
Was the team’s roster coming out of training camp optimal? For instance, should Victor Bartley, who played so well once he was called up from Milwaukee mid-season, have made the initial cut instead of Ryan Ellis or Jonathon Blum? Bartley had enjoyed an AHL All-Star season up to that point and looked as NHL-ready as any of the other Preds defensemen when I saw him at Centennial Sportsplex during training camp.
Was there a trade that could’ve been made earlier in the season to improve the on-ice roster? Any kind of blockbuster was probably off the table from the beginning because David Poile’s cupboard is fairly bare. But was there another move that could have been made? For instance, given how Craig Smith has failed to really jell with the Nashville Predators system, could he have been moved to a team that was a better fit for his skills in exchange for someone more experienced and “Predator-like”?
Speaking of Smith, he was one of two players still with the Preds who were sent down to Milwaukee for conditioning assignments this season. Both he and Matt Halischuk responded with great performances in Milwaukee, only to quickly return to Earth once they donned Preds gold again. Could those two players’ solid performances have been harnessed more effectively with different coaching decisions than the ones Barry Trotz made?
This contest will remain open until noon CDT on Friday, April 26, 2013. At that point I’ll look over all the entries and choose what is, in my totally biased opinion, the best-argued answer – and that answer’s author will get a free copy of Franchise Hockey Manager.