Naturally, in a lockout-shortened season, the entire NHL schedule is affected. We lost All-Star Weekend and the Winter Classic, the usual muscle tweaks and slight injuries are affecting multiple player and even the trade market seems skewed.
That's been felt acutely this season. Teams might be able to make deals early in the season, but will they be willing to do so after only a few weeks played? Won't teams want to see how the roster gels before moving players?
Logically, it's been hard to uncover many rumors for NHL teams this season so early in the year. As Elliotte Friedman of CBC points out, there are good reasons for that when discussing the shortage of trade whispers in league circles:
Hard to pin down many more names. Some teams don't want to deal excess players because depth is critical. Very few teams are out of it, which prevents fire sales, and with the cap going down to $64.3 million US in 2013-14, you don't want to add a big salary if you can avoid it. Maybe things loosen up in the next week or so.
Yes, folks, we've gone meta on the NHL rumors. In a lockout-shortened season, anything can happen!
Jokes aside, Friedman's logic makes sense. The last thing you want to do is thin your bench when players are bound to deal with various strains and pulls that accompany a rushed training camp.
And nobody wants to be the team that struggles with the cap the year after a lockout. It's poor form (and it's bad business on top of that).
This time of year is normally rife with juicy rumors around the NHL, but I would expect the well to stay a bit more dry this year. More teams have less of a reason to make a deal at this point, and while there will be trades, I don't know if we'll have any of the earth-shattering deals that everyone loves.
If you're looking for the mega deal, I suggest you start paying attention to the NBA.
Still, there are reasons for optimism. The sprint to the playoffs always makes for a fast-paced ride, and at least we don't have to all suffer through 25 different Rick Nash rumors every day.
Sure, it may eventually be 25 Roberto Luongo rumors a day, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. For now, try to enjoy the silence as the rumor mill stands still.
At least we get to hear the one sound we were worried would be muted this season—the sound of the puck slapping against sticks and skates grinding along the ice as we get to watch the sport we love.