Hello, I'm the other James that'll be blogging about the IceHL. I'm James L, the GM of the Houston Hellcats - and for my sins I'm English! I'm an across-the-pond Rangers fan, the blame for which lies at the feet of my Red Wings-supporting school friend and his copy of NHL 99! I've been looking forward to the start of the season since the day after that underwhelming cup-clenching goal in game 6, its been a long summer!
Anyway, onto the Hellcats. The auto-draft presented me with an ok squad, but ranking 12th in the draft order meant I was never going to draft any of the superstars. Zach Parise was my first round pick, followed in the second round by Ilya Bryzgalov. Tavares, Duchene and Lidstrom were selected in the next three rounds.
The rest of my forwards were: Brian Gionta, Michael Grabner, Vaclav Prospal, Martin Havlat, Tuomu Ruutu, Marc Pouliot, Chris Drury, Jakub Voracek and Sean Avery. Not a stellar line up, but solid enough.
On D, I'm a lot more happy with my picks. Nicklas Lidstrom was joined by Andrei Markov, Niklas Kronwall, Mattias Ohlund, Andrew Ferrence, Nicklas Grossman and Matt Hunwick.
In goal, Bryzgalov is joined by Khabibulin, Mike Smith and Brian Boucher. Fairly happy with these, I'm hoping Bulin will be trying to pay back the Oilers organisation for sticking by him this summer.
The first trade offer I received was from the Winterhawks GM, Scott Kocienda. He offered Iginla and Matt Carle in exchange for Parise. I was very happy to accept the offer, picking up a player of Iginla's quality and adding a solid defenceman like Carle for a Devil! This move dropped Grossman onto waivers.
I then missed of out Marc Stall on waivers, but did manage to pick up Luke Schenn, dropping Andrew Ference in the process. Today I have claimed Erik Cole and Marek Svatos off waivers, with Grabner and Pouliot dropped from the team, just in time for the opening fixtures.
There have been several trade proposals flying about, and some that I have received have been very tempting, but no other deals so far.
All in all, I'm excited to see what this season brings. I'm not totally happy with my team, but we'll see how the season goes!
Thanks for reading this, and a big thanks to Chris for setting this up. I shall be watching the opening night's games with interest, and hope to update the blog weekly on the trials and tribulations of running the Hellcats.