NHL Happy Hour: NHL Fantasy League Epic Failure!

Fantasy leagues between friends can be fun. Most leagues are designed around fun and bragging rights. Most leagues are online and people enter them for fun and the attention level varies between league to league, player to player. And then there are the leagues that involve cold hard cash and are very competitive. Trophies, trash talk, and large pool prizes evolved some fantasy leagues into something of a monumental event. The show “The League” has sort of parodied what goes on in these leagues.

How serious you take your fantasy league is all up to you, but today I will tell you a story about my fantasy league. A league that has been around for longer than 10 years and became something very serious five years ago.

A 100-dollar entry fee, a trophy that can have your name on it, and 10 friends that have been using the NHL regular season as an excuse to be very obscene to each other while annoying their wives and girlfriends to no end. There is no way to put it…this league is for real.

One of our GMs literally quit because of the stress involved in daily trade talks and has been replaced. We have strict rules that have evolved over the years and some of these rules I am about to talk about. I am writing about this to get your opinion on this critical failure and to help you avoid making similar mistakes.

NHL Happy Hour: NHL Fantasy League Epic Failure!

The basic background on the rule in question is that we have a veto rule on each trade that goes through. The veto rule states that if six GMs do not think this trade is fair deal, meaning that one team is tanking and their season is done, they can trade their superstars for keepers or help another team just out of spite, the rest of the league can veto the trade. Basic common sense.

Before go further.

Let me explain the keeper rule. Basically each team can enter the draft with up to three players kept from the previous season. If you draft a player at let’s say 12th round and keep him, he costs you 11th round in the next draft and the free agent pickups are defaulted to 12th round keeper status. Some players are more valuable than others. Some people draft young rookies like Nathan MacKinnon late with hopes to keep them for the next two years. This is important because keepers can make or break your next season. It will be very interesting to see where Connor McDavid ends up next year!

So now that you are somewhat aware of what is going on, we made a rule change last year: We changed the veto rule from six votes to seven votes. This was done because we thought it was too easy to veto a trade.

We did not know what we had done.

The league is moving along just fine with some teams emerging as top-tier teams while others sliding down the standings. We are about to hit mid-year in our fantasy season and two teams have been pretty much eliminated from the playoffs. These two teams are now prime targets for the rest of the league to pick and steal their best players. Clearly these trades would still have to have some fair value due to the veto rule.

This is the first trade that was offered and accepted:

PARA traded Victor Hedman, TB D to AKS (16th Round)
PARA traded Ryan Kesler, Ana C to AKS
PARA traded Sergei Bobrovsky, Cls G to AKS
AKS traded Dustin Byfuglien, Wpg RW to PARA
AKS traded Brandon Dubinsky, Cls C to PARA
AKS traded Henrik Lundqvist, NYR G to PARA


This trade was vetoed. The system worked. It worked really well, because all of the other seven GMs realized that this trade is not a fair trade, mainly because we did not feel Hedman is good enough of a keeper in the 16th round to validate the trade. The point being is that Paratroopers are one of the top teams and AKS is not making the playoffs and they are exchanging good players for less than good, not okay.

AKS traded Scott Hartnell, Cls LW to PARA
AKS traded Henrik Lundqvist, NYR G to PARA
PARA traded Victor Hedman, TB D to AKS (16th Round)
PARA traded Sergei Bobrovsky, Cls G to AKS

The trade was reworked and it was good to go. The system worked and we have a proper trade that went down and was approved by the rest of the league.  At this point, no one knew what this started.

Seeing the opportunity, the other team that was not making the playoffs decided to sell their assets as well.

Rich traded Steven Stamkos, TB C to PARA
Rich traded Patrick Marleau, SJ LW to PARA
Rich traded Jonathan Quick, LA G to PARA
PARA traded Joe Thornton*, SJ C to Rich
PARA traded James van Riemsdyk, Tor LW to Rich (10th Round)
PARA traded Nikita Kucherov, TB RW to Rich (12th Round)

This trade was another big no-no, but while it was about to be vetoed another GM found a loophole in the rules. So far we only had 3 GMs involved in the trades. Three GMs that could approve each other’s trades to make sure they go through, but they need a fourth GM to make these stick.

Rich traded Logan Couture, SJ C to S9
Rich traded Drew Doughty, LA D to S9
S9 traded Marian Gaborik, LA RW to Rich
S9 traded Torey Krug, Bos D to Rich (9th Round)
S9 traded Johnny Gaudreau, Cgy LW to Rich (12th Round)

Here comes the 4th GM that made a deal with the other three GMs to approve each other’s trade and veto power has become no more.  What followed may only be described as the “Trade-appening:

AKS traded Matt Duchene, Col C to SIC
AKS traded Martin St. Louis, NYR RW to SIC
AKS traded Erik Karlsson, Ott D to SIC
SIC traded Jordan Eberle, Edm RW to AKS
SIC traded Nathan MacKinnon, Col C to AKS (7th Round)
SIC traded Justin Faulk, Car D to AKS (12th round


CACA traded Dougie Hamilton, Bos D to AKS (16th Round)
CACA traded Ryan Miller, Van G to AKS
AKS traded Tyson Barrie, Col D to CACA
AKS traded Jaroslav Halak, NYI G to CACA


CACA traded Milan Lucic, Bos LW to AKS
CACA traded Nick Leddy, NYI D to AKS
AKS traded Brock Nelson, NYI C to CACA (19th Round)
AKS traded Johnny Boychuk, NYI D to CACA


Bla traded Chris Kreider, NYR LW to AKS
AKS traded Gabriel Landeskog, Col LW to Bla (3rd Round)


Rich traded Roberto Luongo, Fla G to SIC
Rich traded Patrick Sharp, Chi LW to SIC
SIC traded Alexander Steen, StL LW to Rich
SIC traded Frederik Andersen, Ana G to Rich (8th Round)


CACA traded Alex Galchenyuk, Mon LW to Alex (14th round)
CACA traded Jakub Voracek, Phi RW to Alex (4th Round)
CACA traded Jason Pominville, Min RW to Alex
Alex traded Zach Parise*, Min LW to CACA
Alex traded Chris Kunitz, Pit LW to CACA
Alex traded Patrick Kane, Chi RW to CACA

This was the final trade and this all happened in one day. These trades really put our league on the brink of breaking point due to the dump of first round and high round picks for keepers and bloating some teams to the top.

The end of the day, the league continues on and I have to say these trades will play out whichever way they play out, but I want to know the public’s opinion on some of these transactions and if you have experienced something similar.


Bonus Podcast on the whole situation:

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