FHM Ottawa Senators Historical Challenge April-Draft Day 1997: Hitting the Lotto

It’s a big day.

Franchise Hockey Manager 6 is a text-based hockey management simulation game by Out of the Park Developments. It’s a lot of fun, and I find it super realistic. I recommend checking it out if you’re looking for a good way to kill time while social distancing.

In the game, you take over as GM and/or head coach of pretty much any hockey team on the planet, and make roster moves to bring your team a championship. The CPU plays the games for you, but you craft the team.

One of the coolest game modes is the Historical Challenges, wherein you take over as GM of a team at a particular point in their NHL existence, and attempt to relive or rewrite history. For the purposes of this play-through, we’ll be taking over the Ottawa Senators in the Fall of 1996, and attempting to win a Stanley Cup no later than the spring of 2007.

For the purposes of this little exercise, I’m going to play through this mode, trying to win a Cup for the Sens, with help from you - yes you - the readers! At the end of every edition, I’ll ask you questions about key roster moves, and make it based on how you respond!

We’re going to take this on a month-by-month basis, with a new instalment coming out every week, so make sure you let me know in the comments what you want to see, and any suggestions you have to achieve this goal! I want to make this as interactive an experience as possible, so I really want to hear from you!

Let’s finish up April of 1997, and hit the offseason!

At the end of March 1997, you all voted to keep our prospects in the minors to finish the season, so let’s wrap up the last seven games of the year, and look toward the draft.

First things first, some extensions for the young core.

The month kicks off with a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Ron Tugnutt had a stellar evening, with Alexei Yashin scoring, John Madden finally getting his first NHL goal, and Miroslav Šatan potting the insurance marker.

The back-to-back was a hard-fought effort, but ended in a 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. Markus Naslund hit the scoreboard, but Damian Rhodes was barely outdueled by Olaf Kolzig.

Consecutive losses were found in Pittsburgh, by a final of 5-2. Naslund and Niklas Sundstrom combined for a pair of goals, but the vaunted Penguins were too much to handle.

The Pennsylvania road trip was salvaged, however, by a 4-2 win in Philadelphia. Wade Redden continued an impressive rookie stint with a goal, and Šatan chipped in once again,  along with Naslund and Chris Phillips to down the Flyers.

Back on home ice, the Senators earned a second straight 4-2 victory, this time over the Hartford Whalers. Šatan opened the scoring, followed by Bryan McCabe, before Alexei Yashin scored a pair to double up the guys from Connecticut.

A third-straight win came in surprising fashion, over the powerhouse Detroit Red Wings. Šatan scored in his third straight game, with Alex Daigle and Andreas Dackell providing the winning and insurance markers, respectively, to say nothing of a fantastic 38-save performance from Ron Tugnutt, for a 3-1 victory.

The 1996-1997 season comes to a close in impressive fashion, riding a four-game win streak with a 2-1 triumph over the Sabres. Alexei Yashin did it all, providing both markers. Martin St. Louis was injured with a torn hamstring, but with the season over, will have ample time to recover for the next campaign.

After simulating through the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the St. Louis Blues win their first ever championship, downing the Pittsburgh Penguins.

And of course, here’s what you all have been waiting for. The 1997 NHL Entry Draft Order, with us slotting nicely into the second overall pick.

With the first overall pick, the Boston Bruins selected Pavel Datsyuk. So now, it’s question time.

This is our roster, as it stands. To that end, it seems like a great case could be made for Roberto Luongo, but Marian Hossa would be a nice marquee winger to go along with Markus Naslund, and a centre like Joe Thornton would make for a nice one-two punch with Alexei Yashin.

So, my friends, it is up to you:

With the 2nd overall pick in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, the Ottawa Senators are proud to select...

Roberto Luongo17
Joe Thornton68
Marian Hossa40
Andy McDonald0
Patrick Marleau0
Niklas Backstrom2
Andrei Markov1

In order to accelerate this rebuild, another first-round pick would help. I’ve identified a couple candidates, but bear in mind that pretty much all impact players are gone in the first round. With either of these trades, we’d be adding another really nice player.

Which trade should we make?

Washington (15th overall)15
Toronto (10th overall)77
Neither, keep Dackell (2 star ability, 2.5 star potential)6

Top Season Performers: Alexei Yashin (82GP 42G 54A 94P), Daniel Alfredsson (82GP 26G 35A 61P), Miroslav Šatan (41GP 16G 14A 30P), Robert Lang (82GP 14G 23A 37P), Eric Weinrich (72GP 7G 16A 23P)

Worst Season Performers: John Madden (57GP 1G 2A 3P), Ruslan Salei (53GP 0G 5A 5P)

MVP: Alexei Yashin

Rookie of the Year: Chris Phillips (78GP 4G 9A 13P)

Who to Watch - 1997-1998: Martin St. Louis (47GP 6G 16A 22P) Michael Nylander (82GP 10G 19A 29P) Wade Redden (22GP 5G 4A 9P)

That concludes this edition of our playthrough! Make sure to cast your votes, and catch the next edition next week!

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