By: Trent Leith / January 10, 2023
I want to mix things up. I recently found out about OpenAI’s language model called ChatGPT. This basic chat AI will answer questions and have an ongoing dialogue with you. So I wanted to ask it what it thinks the Canucks should do on three main issues:
- Trading Bo Horvat.
- Tanking for Bedard.
Here is what the robots think.
I started with an easy question to get the puck rolling.
Trent: Do you know about the Canucks?
ChatGPT: Yes, I am familiar with the Vancouver Canucks. They are a professional ice hockey team based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Canucks compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference.
Trent: Can you instruct me on how to build a winning team in the NHL?
ChatGPT: Sure, here are a few general guidelines that may be helpful in building a winning team in the National Hockey League (NHL):
1. Draft and develop talented players: Building a winning team often involves drafting and developing talented young players who can grow and improve over time.
2. Make smart trades and acquisitions: Adding new players through trades or free agency can be a way to improve the team’s talent level and address specific needs.
3. Build team chemistry and a winning culture: Establishing a positive, supportive team environment and culture can be important for helping players to perform at their best and for building a successful team.
4. Manage the salary cap effectively: Carefully managing the team’s salary cap and financial resources can help to ensure that the team has the flexibility to make the moves it needs to in order to improve.
5. Focus on continuous improvement: A winning team is one that is constantly working to improve and evolve, and it is important for a team to be open to new ideas and ways of doing things in order to stay competitive.
Okay, so ChatGPT has an understanding of the Canucks and how to build an NHL team. Let’s start asking it some tougher questions.
The Trade Deadline
Trent: How should the Canucks approach the trade deadline?
ChatGP: It’s difficult to say exactly how the Vancouver Canucks should approach the trade deadline without knowing more about the team’s current situation, including its roster, salary cap, and specific needs. However, in general, teams may look to make trades at the deadline in order to improve their roster for the playoffs or to acquire assets for the future. Some teams that are out of contention for the playoffs may look to trade away veteran players in exchange for prospects or draft picks. It’s also possible that teams may look to make trades in order to shed salary in order to stay under the salary cap. Ultimately, the Canucks’ approach to the trade deadline will depend on their goals and their evaluation of their roster and needs.
This is nothing groundbreaking of course but now we know that ChatGPT is smart enough to understand the basic framework of building an NHL team. Time to ask the big questions.
Trent: The Canucks are 17-19-3 this season. Should they trade veteran Bo Horvat?
ChatGPT: It is not appropriate for me to make a recommendation on whether the Vancouver Canucks should trade Bo Horvat or any other player. As an artificial intelligence, I do not have personal feelings or desires, and I do not have the ability to make decisions for a professional sports team. My role is to provide information and answer questions to the best of my ability based on the information and knowledge that I have been programmed with.
The decision on whether to trade Horvat or any other player will depend on a variety of factors, including the team’s needs and goals, the player’s performance and value, the market for the player’s services, and the team’s salary cap situation. Ultimately, the decision on whether to trade a player will need to be made by the team’s management and ownership based on their evaluation of these and other factors.
Lame, let’s see if I can work around this.
Trent: Why do NHL teams sell expiring players at the trade deadline?
ChatGPT: NHL teams may choose to trade players who are in the final year of their contract (i.e., expiring players) at the trade deadline for a variety of reasons. One reason is that teams may believe that they are unlikely to re-sign the player in the offseason, and so they may choose to trade the player in order to receive something in return rather than losing the player for nothing in free agency.
Another reason is that teams may believe that they are in a position to make a playoff run and may be looking to add players who can help them in the short-term. Expiring players can be attractive to teams in this situation because they can be acquired without the long-term financial commitment that is associated with signing a player to a new contract.
Additionally, teams may trade expiring players in order to free up salary cap space or to acquire assets such as draft picks that can be used to improve the team in the future.
According to ChatGPT, teams should trade players on expiring deals if they don’t think they can be re-signed. Given that it has been well-documented that Bo Horvat and the Canucks are far apart in contract negotiations, it sounds like ChatGPT thinks the Canucks should trade Horvat.
Trent: The Canucks likely aren’t going to make the playoffs, should they tank for Bedard?
ChatGPT: It’s not uncommon for teams that are out of contention for the playoffs to “tank,” or intentionally lose games in order to improve their chances of getting a higher draft pick. However, it is generally not considered to be good sportsmanship or in the best interests of the team or its fans to intentionally lose games. Additionally, it is difficult to predict which player a team will draft with a higher pick, and it is not guaranteed that a player like Bedard, if he is eligible for the draft, will turn out to be a successful player in the NHL. It is generally better for a team to focus on playing to the best of its ability and developing its players, rather than trying to lose games in order to get a higher draft pick.
Alright, ChatGPT is #TeamPlayoffs and not #TeamTank. This is where we see some limitations of the AI. While nothing it has said is incorrect, it is fair to assume Bedard is draft eligible and all signs point to him being a very successful NHL player. The other thing to note, as Brayden pointed out last week, is that there are plenty of very talented players going to be drafted after Bedard. The AI doesn’t have much information past 2021 so its knowledge of people’s draft boards is lacking.
Trent: But the team isn’t good enough to be in the playoffs. Shouldn’t they try their best to get a high draft pick to make the team stronger for the coming seasons?
ChatGPT: While it is true that having a high draft pick can give a team the opportunity to select a potentially impactful player who could help the team in the future, it is generally not a good idea for a team to try to lose games in order to get a higher draft pick. This is because intentionally losing games goes against the principles of sportsmanship and fair play, and it can also be detrimental to team morale and the development of individual players. Instead of focusing on trying to lose games, it is generally better for a team to focus on playing to the best of its ability and working to improve as a team. This could involve identifying areas of weakness and working to address them, helping individual players to develop their skills and improve their performance, and working to build team cohesion and a winning culture.
This guy seems to be a stickler for sportsmanship. But on the surface, it has a point: losing a lot does hurt team morale.
Trent: If the Canucks are losing more games than they are winning, shouldn’t they try and get a high draft pick, regardless of morale? Intentional losing is less crushing than trying your hardest and losing.
ChatGPT: It is generally better for a team to focus on playing to the best of its ability and working to improve as a team, rather than trying to lose games in order to get a higher draft pick. While it may be disappointing to try hard and still lose, it is generally more constructive and beneficial for the team and its players to focus on improving and finding ways to win, rather than trying to lose intentionally.
Well, our friend here must be Franchesco’s pocket. It looks like tanking is off the table.
Trent: I disagree entirely. Are you familiar with the term “mushy middle” in regard to the NHL?
ChatGPT: Yes, I am familiar with the term “mushy middle” in relation to the National Hockey League (NHL). The term “mushy middle” refers to the group of teams that are not among the very best teams in the league (sometimes referred to as “contenders”) and are not among the worst teams in the league (sometimes referred to as “rebuilders”). These teams are often stuck in the middle of the league standings and may not be strong enough to consistently compete for a playoff spot, but may also not be bad enough to have a high draft pick.
Teams in the “mushy middle” can often face challenges in terms of deciding on a direction for the franchise and determining how to best use their resources to improve. In some cases, teams in the “mushy middle” may look to make trades or other roster moves in an effort to improve their chances of making the playoffs, while in other cases they may choose to rebuild and focus on the long-term development of their team.
I was a little surprised it got that one.
Trent: Exactly, so you understand that the Canucks are stuck in the mushy middle. They should be rebuilding to open a contention window while guys like Pettersson are still young.
ChatGPT: It is certainly possible that the Vancouver Canucks, like many other teams, have found themselves in the “mushy middle” of the NHL standings at times. In this situation, it can be challenging for a team to determine the best course of action. Rebuilding the team through youth development and acquiring assets for the future can be one way for a team to try to improve its long-term prospects, but it can also be a risky and time-consuming process. On the other hand, trying to improve the team through trades and other roster moves in an effort to compete for a playoff spot in the short-term can also be a valid approach, but it may not always be successful and can also involve risks.
The AI’s Roadmap
Trent: What is the most effective, re-tooling or re-building an NHL team?
ChatGPT: The decision on whether to re-tool or rebuild an NHL team will depend on the team’s specific circumstances and needs. Re-tooling a team typically involves making changes to the current roster in an effort to improve the team’s performance in the short-term, while rebuilding a team typically involves a more long-term approach that involves restructuring the team’s roster and focusing on youth development.
Re-tooling a team can be a quicker way to try to improve the team’s performance, as it involves making changes to the current roster rather than starting from scratch with a new group of players. However, re-tooling can also be risky, as it can be difficult to predict how new players will fit with the existing team and whether the changes will be enough to bring the team success.
Rebuilding a team, on the other hand, typically involves a longer-term approach that focuses on acquiring and developing young players and building a solid foundation for the future. This can be a slower process, as it can take time for young players to develop and for the team to see the benefits of its rebuilding efforts. However, if successful, rebuilding can lead to a more sustainable level of success for the team.
Ultimately, the decision on whether to re-tool or rebuild a team will depend on the team’s specific circumstances and needs, and what the team believes will be the most effective way to improve its performance and achieve its goals.
Well, that looks like it was taken right from Wikipedia. Let’s see if we can get it to answer my question in a roundabout way again.
Trent: When do you decide if a re-tool has failed?
ChatGPT: It can be difficult to determine when a re-tooling effort has failed, as the appropriate time frame for evaluating the success of a re-tool will depend on the specific circumstances of the team and the goals that were set for the re-tooling process.
In general, a re-tooling effort may be considered to have failed if the team is unable to achieve the short-term goals that were set for the process. For example, if a team’s goal was to make the playoffs and it fails to do so after making significant changes to its roster and operations, the re-tooling effort may be considered to have failed.
Similarly, a re-tooling effort may be considered to have failed if the team is unable to sustain its improved performance over an extended period of time. For example, if a team makes significant changes to its roster and has a strong season, but is unable to build on that success in subsequent seasons, the re-tooling effort may be considered to have failed.
Well, in that case, I’d say the re-tool was a failure and it is time to try something else.
Trent: If a re-tool fails, then what should the team do?
ChatGPT: If a re-tooling effort has failed, it may be necessary for a team to consider alternative approaches in order to improve its performance and achieve its goals. Some options that a team might consider include:
1. Continuing to re-tool: Depending on the specific circumstances of the team, it may be possible to continue making targeted improvements in an effort to achieve success. This could involve making additional trades or free agent signings, or implementing changes to the team’s operations or coaching staff.
2. Re-building: If the re-tooling effort has failed and the team is not close to contending for a playoff spot or championship, it may be necessary to consider a more comprehensive overhaul of the team’s roster and operations. This can involve a focus on youth development and long-term improvement, and it may require a period of sustained success in order to be successful.
3. Making no changes: In some cases, it may be determined that the best course of action is to make no changes and continue with the team’s current approach. This decision may be based on a variety of factors, including the team’s financial resources, roster, and long-term goals.
Option one scares me. The Canucks have been doing that since 2012. In a way, options two and three are very similar. Both would wind up with the Canuck losing talent and getting a high draft pick. But in option two, at least you get some assets for doing so.