The NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and while there were a couple of big names moved on Wednesday, namely Marian Gaborik (h/t TSN's Darren Dreger) and Jason Pominville (h/t the Associated Press, USA Today), it was a slow day on the trade front.
Trade volume was low with just 17 trades made on April 3.
Bigger names had been moved earlier with Jarome Iginla and Jaromir Jagr being the headliners, but with only four or five teams eliminated from playoff contention, there were not many sellers across the league.
I believe the NHL should move the deadline even closer to the end of the regular season.
This season it should have been at least a week from today, April 10 for instance.
In a full season, instead of the end of February, I think the league should move the date to the first or second week of March.
Here are the three reasons why.
3. More Teams Would Be Eliminated from Contention.
With more teams out of contention, there would be more sellers in play, and prices on players would likely be lowered.
Therefore, teams in contention would make even more deals, and teams in a rebuilding mode would be even more motivated to move players.
With the current dates, very few teams are decidedly out of the race, but this would be rectified by changing the deadline date.
We would start to see more multi-team deals that are always exciting from the fans’ perspective.
2. The Total Volume of Trades Would Increase.
Inevitably, there would be more trades with a later deadline date.
Teams receiving players would have less salary to pay because the number of games would be fewer.
Unrestricted free agents would be even more in play, particularly if the selling team had no plans to re-sign the player.
Teams in need of shedding veteran players and salary for the next season would benefit as well, as players with one year remaining on their deals would be more attractive to their new teams with the lowered total cost.
1. Strong Teams Would Improve, Making for Even Better Playoff Series.
I understand that all professional sports leagues love parity, but from the fans’ perspective something has been lost with fewer opportunities for dynasties to emerge.
While teams could not build their team around the trade deadline, they could more readily add two or three key pieces that would make them that much stronger down the stretch drive and into the playoffs.
Upsets are great, and I don’t think they would necessarily go away, but having seven or eight teams really separating from the pack would make for some terrific series, particularly in the conference finals and the Stanley Cup Final.
Loaded teams facing off in the playoffs, the time of year that really matters, would also help to further existing rivalries and help create new ones.
Rivalries are exciting for players and for the fans. Having more of them can only improve the league.
For these key reasons, it makes a lot of sense for the NHL to move the trade deadline to a later date in the season.