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(GRADED) Deep Dive#1-Forgotten Franchises-Building the Halifax RaidersS25 SMJHL Draft
(This post was last modified: 08-11-2022, 05:03 AM by Opera_Phantom. Edited 5 times in total.)

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  Long before the Maine Timber were playing in the Northeastern United States, there was a team across the border that quickly became a serious contender. As players from all around the world seeked SHL fame, the SMJHL was growing at a rapid pace. As a result, the SMJHL added two new franchises ahead of the leagues S25 Draft.
The two teams would be the Halifax Raiders and the Colorado Mammoths. I was lucky enough to be the inaugural GM of the Raiders. I would have to say that building a franchise from the ground up was the most exciting thing that I've ever done in the SHL.

  The rules were not set up to favor the new expansion franchises.  The expansion draft rules allowed the SMJHL's existing teams to keep all of their key players protected. (Shoutout Wiliam Hendrickson who actually was an inprtant player in the Raiders early seasons)
It was clear that the best way to build the team was going to be through the draft. I even resited trading important draft picks for the Raiders Co-GM's player (Lord Pretty Flacko) as both Baelor & I agreed that could set back the development of the organization. Developing a positive culture within the locker room would be key and nothing would be more important than bringing in players that could help with that during the teams early drafts.

S25 Halifax Raiders Entry Draft Review

1 (3) - Conall MacLeod (W) - The Raiders first ever draft pick would become a huge building block for the organization. Macleod was a star on the ice at the SMJHL level and was named the teams first ever captain. I was so impressed with Macleod that @Legend was a finalist and very nearly was named the Raiders first Co-GM prior to the draft... despite being a first generation member, who was brand new to the site, and a huge amount of applications from more established users that I was very familiar with.

2 (14) - Brett Broadway (G) - Broadway would be a rock for the Raiders in goal and was a huge part of the teams early success. Broadway would go on to have an excellent SHL career, becoming one of the top goaltenders in the league for a number of seasons. Having @Toast around was a huge help for me as I was new to a management role and he had a lot of experience in the SHL already. Toast would become the Raidwrs 2nd ever Co-GM.

**13th overall pick Ignant Ogorodnikov (W) & 15th overall pick Taystee Poussey © were traded to Halifax following the draft after refusing to sign with the St. Louis Scarecrows. Both forwards would become star players and were crucial during the teams first championship run in their sophomore seasons.

3 (19) Petr Kolesnikovs © - A two-way player, Kolesnikovs was a very valuable member of the team who helped stabilized the center position right out of the gate. Kolesnikovs was an alternate captain for the Raiders and would become one of the franchises leading scorers over their first few seasons.

4 (29) Ace McCardle (D)
4 (30) Bernard Frédéric (D)

Neither of these players would develop into stars at the next level, but both played important defensive roles for the Raiders in their initial seasons. There weren't many defenseman available at this point and the Raiders needed to fill the roster .. luckily...

26th overall pick Clayton Fuller (D) was acquired after the draft. Fuller would go on to become the teams best defenseman shortly into his career. The defenseman was selected in the first round of the SHL draft by the Los Angeles Panthers along with winger Conall MacLeod. Unfortunately neither of them would go on to be successful SHL players, but the same can not be said about their time in Halifax.

Compensatory Pick (34) Carter Rosston (W) - The only extra draft pick that the leagues newest franchises were given fell between the 4th and 5th rounds. The Raiders struck gold again. An unheralded prospect heading into the draft, Rosston was an elite scorer at the SMJHL level Carter would go on to hold numerous franchise offensive records while the team was still playing in Halifax.

5 (37) Sekkusu Gan (W) - I was familiar with tfong from the VHL and knew that he could be a valuable member of the team. Gan would provide offensive punch for the Raiders and was one of the best natural goal scorers on the team.

And then a bunch of filler / busts were picked  Wink

  The Raiders would struggle out of the gate as the players were so inexperienced compared to the leagues established franchises. However, the team was very competitive by the time the playoffs rolled around, taking the Montreal Impact to 7 games before being eliminated from postseason play. The Raiders would win the 4 Star Cup in their second season relying primarily on the talented players that were acquired in this draft class. Such a fun time, glad that everything played out the way it did.

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