Player/Team Evaluation

It is time to evaluate your team, in this tutorial, I will show you a few ways to stay on top of what your players are doing and what to do with an overflow of signed players. Remember that is how I like to do things and some people out there may have a different system, you may even adopt your own, but for the time being I will assume you have no idea what you are doing and try to make it simple.

July.1 is your magic date, I know the game does not start on this date, but you can do this from your start date also, it is just best to do it for July.1 for the following seasons after the first one. July.1 is also the first day of the new season officially, and it is right after all stats in the game are updated. You must also have an assistant GM hired, this is very important. An assistant GM should have good scouting ratings, meaning good judging on ability and potential, this will help keep his depth chart evaluations accurate for you.

On July.1 recall every player you have to your team, this is most easily done by going to the roster screen and using the pull down menu marked "View" and then choosing "Roster Management". This will allow you to call in every player you have signed with ease. If a player is on loan at the start of your game, call them back for this.

Now that all your players are on the team, it is time to evaluate them, assign your head scout to coach your own team, if you do not know how to do this here is the step by step:

1. Choose General Manager from the top menu
2. Select Player and Staff search
3. On the very left column, select Scouts
4. From the top pull down menu marked Scouts, select your head scout
5. From the pull down menu directly beside this one marked Assign Scout, select Team
6. By default, there will be a list of the teams for the league in which you play, select your own team for this evaluation

Now, it will take some time for the scout to get back to you on your club, in the meantime, it is usually best to setup your practice settings and start simulating ahead. After a few days your scout will say he has an updated report, it will appear in the news items. Click upon your team name in the news item and his evaluation of the team will show up. Sort the rankings by the stars he has assigned them and go to the last page. This is where your 0 or 1 star guys will be, they are the guys you don't really need, but since you have to pay them anyway, they may as well play! I like to loan these players out to lower leagues and save my better backup players for the farm team.
(Note that doing the above will make sure every player on your team now has a scouting report, if you want slightly more accurate results, use more scouts, but your head scout should do a good job, if he is good.)

This is just his first evaluation of your team, sometimes he doesn't get all the players in on one go, but he will have a final report for you in a few more days time, but this gives you some time to start sending out the lower end players he has already scouted for you. The objective here is to end up with a squad of your current and hopeful players that can or may play for you someday and no one else. This also gives you the best chance of ensuring that your farm club will have a good team and stay competitive. It is a win-win.

Once you have your last scouting report, repeat the last step, sending away anymore lower end players and start planning which mid level guys you may want to send to the farm team later on, but don't send them now. The reason this is important is to be sure you won't have too many players on the farm team, which will lead to some not playing enough. Remember, if the farm team has too few players, they will fill their own blanks and your guys will play more if you do not over load them. If you have too many players at any given position, loaning is the answer, send them to a team with less depth and they will play more.

Loaning players is also good in other ways, goalies for example who are not ready for the big time. Goalies need to be brought in slowly, and it is good to put them in a position to succeed, this will help their confidence and they will develop better for it. The best chance to succeed for mid talent goalies is in lower leagues. Starting a goalie in the ECHL before playing him in the AHL will help his confidence and playing time a lot. It is usually best to not have a young goalie play as a backup in the AHL, since they will not get as much time to develop in game.

Finally, the easiest and likely most important evaluation, the depth chart. After you have sent away all your lower end players you may use the depth chart to consider where you stand in terms of talent. On your team roster screen, go to the upper left side and select the pullout menu marked Action and select View Team Report. You must have an assistant GM to get this report, but it will give you a basic breakdown of your teams depth. Go through the list position by position, since the main list will only show you the top few. If some of the players you loaned out are high on your depth chart, then your talent at that position could use an upgrade, keep that in mind for the next draft or your team needs. This will also tell you who may play on your pro team this season, in most cases it is best to go with the top 7 defensemen and the top 4 forwards at each spot, and include at least one extra forward, maybe two. There are some exceptions to this of course, if you have a young player who is junior eligible and he only ranks for your 4th line, it is best to not keep him up, send him back to junior and use your next player on the depth chart. If you have a young defenseman who is only 6 or 7 on your depth chart, same thing as above. Never keep a junior aged goalie as your backup, ever. This is of course after training camp that you would send them back, not right away.

Checking your team evaluation here every so often is good, to see if anyone is moving up the depth chart, and they will, sometimes it is slow, but it will happen. You may also notice the player performance screen, this is helpful for knowing who is playing well and needs a look.

Training Camp:
1. Invite all your prospects to training camp, if they are over 25 and still on your unsigned screen, trade them or release them, this will keep your list clean and make it easier to evaluate your talent, if by 25 they have not become a part of your plans, they are likely not going to. If you couldn't find a way to sign them and at least loan them, then they are not needed.

2. If you are an NHL team, do not allow for open tryouts on your training camp, these players just take away open roster spots from your prospects.

3. On the exact day that the training camp news item comes up, that is when you must turn off the open tryouts thing, it is also when you should invite every prospect you have (unless they are college players, then you cannot).

4. Use 4 teams for your training camp, as you should have a lot of players coming in, this ensures more playing time. Once your prospects show up to your roster, make sure you remember to add them to your training camp rosters, they do not add automatically!

Draft Preparation:
1. As soon as the final rankings for prospects comes, assign your best 3 scouts to the draft, here is how:

a. Choose General Manager from the top menu
b. Select Player and Staff search
c. On the very left column, select Scouts
d. From the top pull down menu marked Scouts, select your head scout
e. From the pull down menu directly beside this one marked Assign Scout, select NHL Entry Draft
f. Keep the default scout settings, just say ok.
(bonus) Sometimes you will want to try and draft older players, if this is the case for this draft for you, assign your 3rd scout as normal above, but instead of having him scout 12 to 65 or whatever it is, have him scout 20 to 23 or more year olds.

2. Wait a little while and each day your scouts will recommend players, with each recommended player, go into their profile and choose to scout that player, this will automatically add them to your shortlist also. If you see a player has already been scouted, do not rescout them, your scouts will recommend the same players over again, but there is a benefit to this, so be patient!

3. Once your scouts have completed their draft scouting there is nothing to do but wait, so do not concern yourself further with the draft, you will have all the info you need if you did as above.

Draft Day:
1. Depending on what pick you have this will be a very easy procedure. If you have a very high pick and already know who you want for the first round, do not hesitate to make your first selection without the next steps, but you will need them for the next rounds.

2. In the top row of drop down menus on the draft screen, select the menu that has the option to view the players by the scouting reports. You will need to assign your scouts to the slots, it is in the menu next to this one. In the first 3 scout slots, enter the 3 scouts you assigned to scout the draft. You will now have rows of stars.

3. From the star ratings you can assure yourself of a few things, if all 3 of your scouts agree on a player with 3 or more stars, he is likely a good player. If you wish to draft for certain positions, you will want to go through the players one by one based on the star ratings, this will take some time, but it will lead to better drafting.

4. This is especially a good way to draft for later rounds when you are not sure who to take, your scouts ratings will be valuable in this method.

5. After the draft is done, and this is very important for every season! Go to your unsigned prospects list and scout every player on it, your new picks and even your old ones, get yourself a new look at everyone for the new season. Also, go to your shortlist, which is found on the same screen as where you assign your scouts, and remove any players on it that you do not hold rights to, since you probably don't want news items about these guys every 5 minutes. You can use the menus above the list to sort by rights, that'll make it quicker.

Now that you have evaluated your team in depth, you should have a better handle on who to play and who to watch, here is a few small tidbits to add to your info above and happy hunting for your leagues championship!

1. Scout and rescout your prospects as often as you think of it, it is vital to stay on top of their progress and have as good an idea of what they will do for you when they are ready. If you see a lot of players that you know will have limited potential, sometimes other teams will want to trade for them, this will get you new draft picks in the future, so recycle those prospects you know you don't need.

2. When you scout the draft, do not assign those scouts to anything else until after the draft, since that will reset their draft evaluations!

3. July.1 is also the date when player and staff become free agents, this is when you want to look for great new scouts who may have become unemployed.

Questions? Comments? Use the contact info linked below.