The main reason this happens is that players gain reputation from a lot of events, teams only gain reputation from winning the cup. And even then normally at a slower rate than the players on the team winning the cups does. I had the same issue with the Coyotes, I won the Conference 4 years in a row, with 2 back to back President's Trophies in there. Neither winning the Conference, making the playoffs or winning the president's Trophy gives your team rep. But in the process of doing this several things will have happened that gave your players reputation. Coyotes in my example start with an abysmal 7500 Reputation (that's 1500 less than Edmonton, the masters of missing the playoffs). So when Auston Matthews kept gaining rep year after year until he got the "Star" Reputation. Despite him gaining that from doing well on a team doing well, he got the "wants to move to a stronger team" entry. He still had that until I manually edited our rep to match our status as the best team in the league, who just happened to get goalied every single playoff. A lot of teams that are currently horrible IRL (Edmonton prior to McJesus in the 15/16 db) has 9k+ Rep because they used to be a good team. So they don't suffer this issue at all. But a franchise like the Coyotes that have never made it to a cup final since their inception has a 7500 Rep that causes all kinds of issues. Even players who don't have the "wants to move to a stronger team" tag but that have "Superb" Reputation will be very inclined to try out Free Agency. With your RFAs you should just make a qualifying offer and then let them go to Free Agency, the AI never makes Offer Sheets and the player will resign at a much much lower wage* than he was asking while still on your team once he hits free agency. It makes no sense, but that's how Riz made it work. If you play as a team with horrible rep I'd say just up their rep as you see fit with the db editor as you go along. Or win 5 cups in 6 years, that caps you out at 9999(9999 wasn't the cap, just a really weird coincidence) Rep pretty much no matter how you started off. That's what I did with the Jets at least.
Another note is that the reputation of your team has an impact on the dynamic difficulty of the game. If you are the coyotes with 7500 rep and you make the playoffs, the game thinks you shouldn't be able to make the playoffs (because you have 7500 rep, you shouldn't even be in the NHL with that) so it will penalize you hard. I tracked the goalie stats across 9 playoff series as well as the playoff centric goalie attributes of my team and my opponents (the attribute averages of the goalies were within 2% of eachother, in my favor). The results were that the game implements a 3% save offset on your goalies if it believes that you shouldn't be in the playoffs. It's immensely frustrating as it makes it so you need to outshoot your opponent by more than 2:1 every single game to have good odds of clinching 4-3. It's what made me start using custom tactics again. Because without it with a low rep team the game simply won't let you win. Your AI coach cannot get it done. The only reason I won with my incredibly dominant Coyotes finally in the 6th season was that I raged and changed our Rep to equal that of the 2nd best Western Conference team at the time. The 3% goalie playoff offset instantly disappeared and we swept the cup 16-0. It's just Grade A game design, as usual.
When my rep went from being the 2nd highest in the NHL to the highest in my Jets save my win% miraculously went from 76% to 92.7% in a season. Because the game stopped trying to penalize a team with "low" rep from doing better than their rep indicates, even though the Catch-22 is that you can only gain team rep by winning the cup. Which you can't do without the game not penalizing you (unless you coach yourself, then it's very easy to accomplish). It's pretty mind-boggling why it's done that way, but it is so you gotta deal with it as best you can.
*I was offering Kale Clague 6.5M a year on a 7 year deal while he was on my roster. He declined, so I gave up and let him go to free agency since he was an RFA anyways. Once he hit the free agency he happily signed a 7 year deal for 3.8M a year. So I now have a top 4 Dman who is a 2 time norris finalist on 3.8M a year for the rest of his career (until I trade his 30+ year old behind for 2 1st rounders that is). The year after the exact same thing happened with Adam Thilander, who is also a top 4 2 times Norris finalist, and he signed a 7 year 4M a year deal. Just mind-blowing. The game also does not make a distinction between RFA and UFA when deciding trade value of player who are about to go to free agency, an RFA with a qualifying offer has 0 value until he becomes an actual RFA, then you can trade his rights for full value again. Maybe I'm mistaken but if a team trades an RFA to another team, doesn't he become an RFA for that team then? Meaning that his value should be the exact same with 1 week left on his contract as when he's a qualified RFA. But it's 0 star until he's a free agent, then full value. Which is annoying if you intended to trade him in for Draft picks.
Last edited by Shindigs
on Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.