I like to equate the NHL free-agent signing and trading period to a combination of musical chairs and seventh-grade dodgeball selection. Everybody eventually gets picked, but the quickest to the seats, or the highest in demand, get selected first. Add in the ability to trade players to the other team, and you've got the NHL from mid-June to September.
As the music continues to play, (I like to imagine the song to be Electric Avenue by Eddy Grant) the captains are forced to fill their roster. As the herd of talent thins, the selection process slows. Each roster has to be filled, but we're almost trying to pick players who won't hurt the team as much as ones who could conceivably help.
Don't forget, the girl you like got drafted by the other team. Offer the other team Greg. Greg is a solid dodgeball player: good, not great, but he's kind of cocky, not a good locker-room guy. A straight up deal, Greg for Tiffani with an "I," is a no-brainer. She's a terrible player, but she's cute and you don't have the same lunch period. Plus you can stand in front of her and make sure she's one of the last two or three remaining players.
The chubby kid with asthma can at least catch the ball, possibly eliminating an opponent from the dodgeball match. In contrast, there is always the guy who looks athletic, but when the whistle blows, he's a total liability and would be a healthy scratch in at least 60 games of 82.
Zach Parise and Ryan Suter led a class that will ultimately be remembered as fairly unremarkable. If nothing else, free agency in 2012 further emphasized the parity in the NHL as the "favored" teams were left holding the literal briefcase full of $100 bills while their recruits signed elsewhere.
Fast forward to the end of the summer in the NHL, and the pickings are considerably slimmer. The chorus of "Electric Avenue" is winding down, and there are only a few picks left to be made. You got stuck with Greg because the other team's captain likes Tiffani with an "I" also.
It seems like your dodgeball team has a few holes that need to be filled. Who's going to take a chance on the big clumsy kid whose motor skills haven't caught up with his growth spurt last summer? You hear that Jen might be available if Greg is still on the trading block. She's cute, almost Tiffani with an "I" cute, but athletic and smart. You pull the trigger on the deal, Greg for Jen, and roll the dice on the foreign exchange student from Latvia.
While there were a couple of blockbuster trades that saw stars in new cities, the deals were made out of the need to make the roster better. Rick Nash and Jordan Staal were the jewels of the trade market, but there are names that could still be on the move. There are still teams that are looking to deal and possibly get a late-summer sneaky deal done.
Here are fifteen deals that are still swirling around in the rumor mills. Some could get done, but there's no chance all of them will. Who knows, that Latvian kid could be a team handball stallion in his homeland and lead your dodgeball team to the Stanley Cup! Enjoy now!