Feb 27, 2012

Another Disappointing NHL Trade Deadline

It happened again. What you ask? NOTHING. The 2011-2012 NHL Trade Deadline produced no significant changes in any team.
In the last week, it was obvious that the Tampa Bay Lightning were the busiest, but no major trades were made in the NHL.

What happened to the good old days when teams would trade for a bag of pucks for other players?
Here's a list of trades that happened this year - or you could just take my word for it that no one made any significant trades.
Here's why (one of many reasons):
When a team decides to trade a big name player (especially for draft picks), they risk the chance of losing some player-based capital (ie: jersey sales, ticket pricing based on superstars along with a million other money makers). Not to mention that the loss of income can hurt a team in the short term, but the team's public view becomes distorted and it's time for the communications team to earn their pay.

With a team's superstar players, an organization builds up a reputation, whether negative or positive. No matter if the player has a good or bad public image, the team's reputation always depends on the outcome of the trade (who got the better end of the deal).

If you were to trade away your best player (let's say 'he' has a eight years of experience), for first and second round draft picks; your team's public image becomes that of a 'team building towards the future'. If you trade for an experienced players, a la notoriously bad at trading Toronto Maple Leafs circa 1996-2006, then your team may become known as a 'team of old-timers' or 'trying to make the playoffs'.

It's not to say that they aren't a variety of reasons to pick up different valued or aged players but what is important is how the public perceives this. Believe me when I tell you: every GM considers this!

On the same note, teams with a poor rapport can obviously gain some great publicity by trading up. Fans who lost interest in their clubs may suddenly be sparked to start watching again due to the team's newest acquisition.

What's important here is the risk involved in trading. Since management is responsible to make money and win, it becomes difficult to see any other way to accomplish this than sticking with your big guns, or the guys who are going to score 30-goal seasons. These are the same guys that your team has been built around for months if not years and the same guys that kids are growing up, dreaming to be like (remember Dave Chappelle's skit?). Is it worth risking valuable players to gain someone who may or may not fit in the system?

Either way, we would all like to see trade deadline days have more action.

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