The Journey: Exploiting Short-Term Memory – Part Two (Savoie, Frost, Hayton, Tomasino, McMichael)

Benjamin Gehrels


Welcome back to The Journey, where we follow hockey prospects and their paths to the NHL, providing fantasy predictions and analysis along the way.

On the one hand, building through the draft in fantasy allows weak teams to acquire high-end assets for free. But when those assets routinely take three-to-five years to start posting meaningful NHL production, managers need to supplement with other strategies to accelerate and strengthen their rebuilds.

Given how many fantasy leagues end up folding after just a few years, it makes sense to try to win at all times. That might sound obvious but it can be tempting to rebuild sort of indefinitely in long-term formats, capturing as many new shiny toys each year through the draft as possible. As discussed two weeks ago in Part One, "upside" can be incredibly alluring.

But even when completely tearing things down, there is no need for a team's timeline to ever exceed, say, three years. With that in mind, there is a case to be made for exploiting short memories by flipping recent draft picks for established assets to accelerate and even strengthen a rebuild—a strategy that can feel counterintuitive to managers used to the standard draft-and-develop approach. Rebuilding teams would usually aim to hoard high-end assets like Matthew Savoie (BUF), for instance.