Although his Capwise career was short, the league’s first great star left such a legacy upon the league that he’ll never be forgotten. KJ Ekdahl, formerly known as Pete Johansson, was one of the true charter members of the Pacific Coast Fantasy League, the 5th person to join the league. And while he left after just two seasons, his guidance and wisdom in the league’s formation are still felt today.
KJ had a knack for identifying potential rulebook pitfalls and loopholes well before anyone else saw them, and he always spoke up on the forum to bring attention to them. Without KJ, you would’ve been able to release a player for a mere penalty of $100,000 instead of buying him out like you do now. If I’d listened to KJ, we would’ve been using AAV from the beginning rather than actual salaries. And really, KJ could be given full credit for the system of using real-life contracts for UFAs and RFAs. Check out this gem that KJ posted on August 3, 2008: “But one simple solution, in my mind, is…accepting the real life RFA/UFA terms of a contract. In other words, if Potter is paid $5 million for two years and then becomes a UFA, then the PCFL owner must drop Potter to the FA market without any compensation.” In the same post, KJ effectively invented our current RFA system, saying “We could allow for an RFA auction and then give the current owner the right to match the highest bid for his RFA, or release the player for a draft pick(s) compensation.” Really, his contributions to the formation of the rulebook in those early days cannot be overlooked.
But KJ isn’t being inducted as a builder (although clearly he could be). In fact, KJ was the original great GM of the league. In our first season KJ’s Motherpuckers trounced the competition, compiling a record of 183-112-50 to win the regular season. After losing a tight semifinal matchup, they finished 3rd in the inaugural season. The next year, after a disappointing regular season, the MPs snuck into the playoffs as the final seed, and managed to pull off the upset to win the title. Since then, it’s been pure domination by this franchise (which has been known as Team Pimples, Marginal Talent, Inferno, and now Thundernuts Part Deux): 3 regular season championships, 2 playoff championships, and even a CHA championship in 2011. Much of this success can be credited to KJ’s shrewd drafting even today.
KJ was no stranger to the trade market, either, pulling off the PCFL’s first major blockbuster in April of 2009 when he shipped off Sidney Crosby in a 7-player deal. This move invited no shortage of criticism from fellow GMs, but it paid off for the season 2 championship. Stars of their time like Tim Thomas, Erik Staal, Patrick Sharp, and Martin Brodeur were all trade acquisitions of the Motherpuckers.
It was a sad day indeed when, on April 12, 2010, KJ announced his retirement from the league. He truly set the tone for the league on so many levels, and set the bar quite high for all GMs who followed.
Congratulations, KJ Ekdahl – Capwise Hall of Fame Inaugural Class, GM Inductee