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It's important to keep your players happy. If they become dissatisfied with their circumstances, their performance may drop, and they may even demand a trade.
The happiness column on the roster screeen (Info view) will tell you the player's currrent mood. If you mouse over the face icon, it'll also let you know what recent events have contributed to that mood (bear in mind that something that happened earlier may have also had an effect.)
Happiness can be affected by many different events, some that you can control, others that are out of your hands. Below is a list of examples.
Negative effects: these can cause a decrease in happiness:
- Sending the player to a farm or junior team, particularly if he's been given a prominent role on the team.
- Player has an inherent dislike for his current team
- Player's major role is changed to one he dislikes.
- Player removed as captain/alternate captain.
- Team matches an offer sheet the player has signed with another team.
- Team is relegated to a lower division.
- Player breaks off contract renewal negotiations after becoming frustrated with the team's offers.
- Player's supplemental role is removed or reduced in quality.
- Team is eliminated from the playoffs, or ends the season without making the playoffs.
- Prolonged winless streaks.
- Team fires its coach without reasonable justification.
- Every game the parent team plays if the player is on a farm/junior team's roster and his supplemental role is not Depth or Prospect.
- The team captain is changed to a player who is perceived as less-deserving of the role
- Team loses a game badly.
- If the player is a goalie, being kept in the net after being scored on many times.
- Suffers a major injury.
- If his main role is Starting Goalie and his backup starts too often.
If the player has strong hidden "intangible" ratings, it's less likely he'll be negatively affected by such events.
Variable effects: these can cause either an increase or decrease in happiness:
- Team fires its coach for a good reason.
- Team fires its general manager.
- Player is traded or picked up on waivers.
Positive effects: these cause an increase in happiness.
- Player is called up from a lower level of play, particularly if his supplementary role is depth or prospect.
- Team wins playoff championship or finishes first overall.
- Player is named captain or alternate captain.
- Player signs a contract extension.
- Player returns from a major injury.
- Player wins a major (seasonal) award.
- Good performance by the player in a single game.
- An unhappy teammate is moved away via trade, waivers, or release.
- Player's major role is changed from one he doesn't like, to one he does.
- Winning streaks by the team.
- Team wins a game by a large margin.