The months and weeks before the trade deadline are both my favorite and least favorite time of the season because while it is exciting to see some key players switch teams, it is unbearable to see the hundreds of articles and trade rumors from fans who think that x team can get a big return for a player with an expiring contract. The Hurricanes are going to be sellers this deadline and have a few players whose contracts run out this summer, so there is no shortage of ridiculous rumors surrounding them, especially with scouts from other teams being at all of their games lately. The constant posts saying that “the Hurricanes can get a first round pick for this player” are getting ridiculous and I know that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Look, we all know where the Canes stand this deadline and that there will be players moved over the next few weeks but those expecting management to clean house this deadline are probably going to be disappointed. The players you want to move at the trade deadline are those who have expiring contracts or ones whose value is at the highest that it likely will be in their career. This is the perfect time to get a team to overpay but that doesn’t mean that everyone with an expiring contract will be moved. Remember two years ago when everyone was certain that Ray Whitney will be moved before March? It didn’t happen, and while you can say that Rutherford made a mistake by letting him walk away for nothing, it shows that not everyone is going to be traded to make room for younger players. The cap floor is going to make it even more difficult to trade for just draft picks.
Let’s face it, the trade deadline might be the most overhyped day in sports and most people seem to have a tough time remembering that. That is why I came up with a few tips for Canes fans so that we can make it through the next few months without going insane.
Temper your expectations
Sort of goes hand-in-hand with what I said in the introduction. Not everyone on the block is going to be dealt and it’s going to take a GM willing to overpay by a lot for us to get a big haul for any of our tradeable assets. I’m not saying that it wont happen because it’s possible, but let’s not think that Tim Gleason can get us a first round pick just because there are lots of teams who need defensemen. My view when it comes to trades has always been “just sit back and watch them happen” because we all know they are coming but it’s important to level your expectations. The odds of a big, lucrative deal happening are low.
Know where your team stands
For the Hurricanes, this deadline is all about getting younger and making room for some of the prospects who are looking for a roster spot next year. That means the players who will most likely be traded are ones with expiring contracts or replaceable players who would also be of service to another team. The Canes have some good prospects in their system but could use some more forward depth and you can never have too many younger players, so I think that’s what we’ll be looking for this deadline. Picks are never a bad thing either. However, we do not need to blow this team up right now, so it’s unlikely that Eric Staal will be traded. It would be a stupid move for us to do that anyway.
Another thing to remember is that a trade has to make sense financially for a team, too. Jim Rutherford isn’t going to trade every single potential UFA on the roster because the Canes are close to the cap floor and the team will need to take cap space in return for those players. He also isn’t going to make a trade just for the sake of it. Sometimes a potential free agent isn’t dealt because the GM couldn’t find a good enough offer for him. It happens. Finding that perfect offer is going to be especially difficult this deadline. Which brings me to my next point…
Most trades have to make sense for both teams
Notice how I said “most” instead of “every trade has to make sense for both teams.” Guys like Dale Tallon and Pierre Gauthier are kind of wild cards when it comes to trades but aside from them and a few others, trades have to make some sense for both parties involved. Which means that Tim Gleason, Jussi Jokinen, Zach Boychuk and a 2nd round pick isn’t going to be traded to Anaheim for Bobby Ryan. That’s the usual big trade model, correct? A top-four defenseman, top-six forward, underacheiving prospect and a second round pick in exchange for a stud. Sounds about right.
Know your sources
I love the Internet and how things like Twitter allow sports bloggers like me to communicate with everyone. As great as that is, just remember that I, and just about every other blogger out there, am not a legitimate source for trade information. If me or someone not with a big media outlet like TSN posts trade information, that is called a “rumor” and should be taken with a huge grain of salt. Now, if someone like Chip Alexander or Bob McKenzie tweets something about a trade in the works, then it’s time to take them seriously.
Don’t get attached to players
We all know that some of the fan-favorites could be moved and there will likely be a certain degree of outrage if/when that happens. “How can you let x player go after everything he’s done for the franchise?” “We can’t trade away someone who is such a great team guy.” Look, I hate to see those kinds of players leave too, but tough decisions have to be made sometimes. The Canes are looking to make things better for the future and if that means trading a fan-favorite for a good package then so be it. It’s always hard to picture a long-time Hurricane in another uniform but just remember that it can help the team in the future if Rutherford plays his cards right.
Remember that deadline day is overhyped
How many big trades went down last year? Kaberle, Erik Johnson and Dustin Penner are the only ones that come to mind for me and only one of those happened on deadline day. The idea of six or seven big trades occurring on the same day is an exciting thought but it almost never happens during the season. The odds of a team like the Hurricanes getting involved with something like that are very slim, unless Rutherford spontaneously decides to trade Staal even though I can’t think of a reason why he would at this point. Staal’s is the team captain, will play a big role in the rebuild and even if we were going to trade him now, Rutherford would be selling low with the season he is having. I will eat my shoe if Staal is traded in the next few months.
Personally, I find trade talk to get rather mundane around this time of year but it’s a necessary evil that comes with being a hockey fan. So my promise to you is to not fill this blog with rumors and trade proposals, but to bring you analysis of our tradeable assets and discuss what kind of value they have to our team and what they could bring to others.