So this has been kicking around in my head a bit as I finish up on my latest NHL36 update...specifically when applied to the NCAA and American junior and midget levels...
We know one of the issues the game has with some leagues (and their feeder leagues) is that it doesn't generate enough future players to fill teams out once you get past the real players. Specifically this seems to happen with leagues like the NCAA/USHL/NAHL where we've made them playable but they weren't originally in the game as playable. I know Riz had said at one point he was going to look into this, but in the meantime, once you get 3-4 years in, you start to see teams with just a few players or sometimes no players...sometimes entire leagues like various US high school leagues will have one or two or no players at all. Which is fine when you are talking about perhaps state hockey in Alabama but certainly not Minnesota. Also, sometimes one or two teams in a league will for some reason attract all the new generated players and the other dozen teams will have nobody.
I'm wondering...if we start to consolidate leagues a bit, if that may help these junior leagues get more "dense" with players. In other words, say right now you have 20 junior and bantam/midget/high school American leagues in the game, and the computer on average generates 100 new young American players each year to populate them with. That's a meager average of like 5 per entire league. But if you consolidate those leagues down to 5 leagues and it still generates 100 players...now you have 20 players per league per year.
I know its great to be SUPER accurate and have every team imaginable in the game...but for me, especially at lower levels - this is not that important.
What if you had a pyramid like this:
1) NCAA (playable - as is)
2) USHL (Tier I Junior - playable - as is)
3) NAHL (Tier II Junior - playable - as is)
4) NCDC (Tier II Junior - I'm adding this as playable...could combine with NAHL as divisions in a single Tier II league perhaps)
5) Tier III USA Juniors (one league with a USPHL division, N3AHL division, etc...not playable)
6) USA High Schools (with entire states being the actual teams...so "Minnesota HS" would be a high rep team with very high player development (as good as say the USHL perhaps)...same with "New England Prep" squad while say "Missouri HS" or "Indiana HS" would be much more lower on both fronts...not playable). Maybe a few very elite hockey factories like Shattuck remain as individual teams.
7) USA U18 Midget Major (could have a HPHL division, USPHL division, Tier 1 Elite division, etc)
8) USA U16 Midget Minor (same as above but for the U16 teams)
So the pyramid has a lot less leagues and by getting condensing 500 high schools down to say 25 hockey playing state squads, you'd start to compress the number of teams the CPU could stick young generated players on and perhaps start to create more meaningful leagues.
Thoughts on my theory?
Ooops forgot the WSHL - which is Tier II but probably produces college recruits more akin to Tier III...