7 Reasons We Can't Wait for the NHL Trade Deadline
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The NHL is just days away from dropping the puck and starting the season. That means the four-month lockout is about to move into the past and the game on the ice will move back to center stage.
As the games are played and the season progresses, the emphasis will be on the standings and playoff positioning of the teams.
As the regular season plays out, teams that are in contention will attempt to strengthen their rosters.
This will culminate by the April 3 trade deadline, always one of the busiest times of the NHL season.
Playoffs Around the Corner
When the NHL reaches the trade deadline, it means the league has reached the home stretch of the regular season and that the playoffs are about to become the focus.
Actually, the playoffs are always what general managers and coaches have in mind, but each game becomes critical in the final month of the regular season.
With the season about to start, the hyperbole has been about the sprint of the 48-game regular season. However, the home stretch is probably a lot more important.
While the start is being emphasized, the New Jersey Devils went 0-3-1 at the start of the 1994-95 season and still managed to win the Stanley Cup.
So the home stretch that begins at the trade deadline will begin the most important part of the regular season with the playoffs following.
Two-Plus Months of Hockey
After four months of inactivity due to the lockout, hockey fans will have had more than two-plus months of action by the time the trade deadline rolls along.
The 2013 regular season promises to be much more intense than the average NHL regular season. Not only because there will be 34 fewer games per team, but because there will be more games per week for each team.
The flurry of games will allow fans to learn more about the makeup, resiliency and overall ability of the team that is not always revealed in most regular seasons.
Gary Bettman No Longer the Focus
The trade deadline means the focus of the game is the product on the ice and that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is no longer one of the central figures in the league's narrative.
The focus at the trade deadline is on improving each team and not what the commissioner is saying or doing. That's a good thing for the sport and its fans.
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
Corey Perry is one of the best players in the NHL. He scored 50 goals in the 2010-11 season and he is earning a prorated $5.325 million salary this season.
Perry will be a free agent at the end of the year, according to capgeek.com. The Anaheim Ducks did not make the playoffs this year and it seems unlikely they will be a contender this year.
Will the 27-year-old Perry be available come the trade deadline? What will it take to wrest him from the Ducks?
Unless they can sign him between now and then, the Ducks might be in a position to lose the 50-goal scorer and not get anything for him.
Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Jarome Iginla has been the face of the Calgary Flames for many years and he has been one of the NHL's premier goal scorers.
The Flames pay Iginla $7 million per season and his contract will be up at the end of the year. Publicly, the Flames say they want Iginla to remain with the team for the remainder of his career.
However, even though both sides speak respectfully of each other, the Flames have no guarantee that they will be able to keep Iginla in the future.
If they get an enticing offer for the future Hall of Famer, they are going to have to give strong consideration to trading him so they can rebuild their franchise.
Stephen Weiss, Florida Panthers
The Florida Panthers were the surprising winners of the Southeast Division last year.
If they can't repeat their success and remain in contention, they may have to consider trading center Stephen Weiss, who is clearly one of their best players.
The 29-year-old free agent-to-be earns $3.1 million and he will likely be among the most desired players in the league as the NHL gets ready for the home stretch.
Michael Ryder, Dallas Stars
Michael Ryder has been an enigmatic player throughout his career.
A talented scorer who knows how to go top shelf in tight quarters, Ryder is coming off a season in which he scored a career-high 35 goals with the Stars last year.
Ryder, 32, is in the final year of a deal that pays $3.5 million per season. Players who can score big goals in the postseason are invaluable, and Ryder may be among the most desired players at the trade deadline.
He played a key role for the Boston Bruins in their 2011 postseason run and he is a proven postseason performer.
If the Stars miss the playoffs again—they have failed to make the postseason for four straight seasons—Ryder will almost certainly be available at the trade deadline.