"Friend of the Nation Network – and two time Angler Cup Champion – Brian Sutherby has shared his thoughts about the Trade Deadline for the second time in less than a week. In this installment he takes a look at the difficulties of making a big move at the deadline and the impact new arrivals have on a dressing room this late in the season. He also calls a winner for this year’s deadline day. – Wanye
With a relatively uneventful trade deadline having passed, many folks are busy debating the Winners and Losers of the deadline. I thought I’d offer my two bits on the matter too.
Many teams had different needs going into the big day and judging the team that played their cards right is always fun. Rather than the big blockbuster deals many had anticipated and hoped for, we saw most teams this season adding depth or in most cases doing nothing at all.
No one really made any moves that blew the roof off their team and unlike recent years, there was little frenzy for the disappointed fans and media alike to enjoy.
Now we are all left to ask ourselves and each other – how did our particular team do and did anyone hand themselves the Cup?
Fans of teams already loaded with talent often figure that adding a big star like Rick Nash can push them over the top and take them to a championship. But what we have seen this year was contending GMs standing pat for the most part, not wanting to mess with what are in most cases already very good lineups.
Acquiring a rental player or making a giant move late in the season always comes with risk. The team is sacrificing the future in favour of the right now and the chance to go deep in the playoffs is by no means assured. For that to happen a lot of things have to go right and pulling off deadline moves is only one piece of a much larger puzzle.
There are a lot of factors in play with a move this late in the season and it can be a lot for any player or team to adjust to with just over a month before playoffs. It’s a tough decision and a big deal can have immediate impact on your team – either positively or negatively. Once the deal is done there is no turning back and many a team has done deals they would later rather have back.
This level of risk combined with steep asking prices is the reason – in my opinion – that most GMs preferred to not tinker very much and why there were so few deals this year.
The hope for many GMs and fans alike is that a big move on Deadline Day – eithe rental type trades or landing a player for the long run – can improve the team dramatically in a short span of time. This could mean putting a team over the top and becoming favourites to win the Cup, jumping up the conference standings or making that all important push into a playoff spot.
But just because a deal looks fabulous on paper doesn’t always translate to reality. There are a great many intangibles that come with making a move this late in the season and the added pressure of having to adjust to a big shakeup in the line up with the season on the line is often reason enough that teams wait to make big moves in the offseason.
So there’s no need to panic if your team sat tight through the deadline. A great many moons have to align to make that magical run, not just a deadline deal.
A secondary scorer, a role player, or depth guy can certainly be all that is needed in many cases to take a team to the next level. Yet often in the days after the deadline, many people are quick to label teams that were the most active in acquiring multiple players or that landed a star player, the “winners”.
Though it has happened in the past, making the most deals or landing the biggest name on Trade Deadline day doesn’t always translate into success during the remainder of the season. What looked like a great move on paper at the deadline may not look so good in a month if you consider everything that needs to happen in such a short amount of time.
As I talked about before a player’s life goes upside down if they are dealt mid season. There are new team mates to work with, new team systems to learn, new Coaches to adjust to, new roles to take on and that ever elusive ‘chemistry’ that needs to be found in a short span of time.
All of these factors aren’t apparent in evaluating a paper transaction and often times you can’t predict how these factors will affect a trade until you pull the trigger and see what happens. In a month’s time, once the moves have had a chance to set in, we will be in a much better position to evaluate the trade deadline winners and losers.
However, saying that it will take a month to judge the winner of the trade deadline isn’t any fun. And it certainly won’t appease my self appointed editor Wanye who wants “ANSWERS NOW!”
With that in mind, I’d have to say that I liked several teams’ moves in the weeks leading up to the Trade Deadline and on the big day itself. I liked what Nashville and Vancouver did and their moves may get them to where they want to be. Both teams I believe improved themselves for a deep run.
But my opinion come playoff time is the Boston Bruins are still the team to beat if they can stay healthy and have enough gas.
They already have the experience, size, and skill. The additions of depth defenseman like Greg Zanon, Mike Mottau and a forward like Brian Rolston, who can play up and down the lineup, while adding a veteran presence like Recchi did last year, is great this time of year. These three won’t be asked to carry the load by any means, but they can fill holes when needed.
In the end I think it’s pretty clear who most teams think they have to go through to get to Lords Stanley. Teams adding Hal Gill 6’7” 241 pounds, Paul Gaustad 6’5” 212 pounds, Zack Kassian 6’4 215 pounds, not to mention the Eastern Conference leading New York Rangers picking up John Scott 6’8 270 pounds.
The winner of the Trade Deadline this year: the Big Bad B’s