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Is the NHL Behind the NFL, MLB, and NBA When It Comes to Trade Rules?

EL SEGUNDO, CA - JULY 5:  General Manager Dean Lombardi of the Los Angeles Kings speaks to the media after the team press announcement that former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Rob Blake agreed to a two-year contract with the team on July 5, 2006 at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California. Rob Blake was drafted by the Kings in 1988 and played with the team until 2001 when he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images
Imtiaz FerdousCorrespondent IIJuly 15, 2011

It has become fashionable to call out the Edmonton Oilers. Several years ago, the Buffalo Sabres had called out the Oilers on inflating the prices of RFAs by signing Thomas Vanek to a seven-year, $50 million offer sheet. The Sabres matched the contract.

After that the Oilers turned their attention to Dustin Penner and signed him to a five-year, $21.25 million contract. Again outrage ensued from then-Anaheim GM Brian Burke. To be fair, this was the Oilers' fault. They were doling out contracts like crazy, and now that they will soon have their own talented RFAs to resign, don't be surprised to see Buffalo or other teams inflate their prices.

Now the Oilers saga has become even more entertaining. Dean Lombardi has said that with various trades with Edmonton the Oilers had lied regarding the extent of their players' injuries. Lombardi went so far as to say he would rather invest with Bernie Madoff than trust the Oilers' words. He first tried to trade Smyth to the Oilers for Gilbert Brule but found out he was injured. Then he made the trade for Colin Fraser and a seventh-round pick. He probably intends to waive Fraser.

Now we find out that Fraser has not been cleared to return from a concussion. This means the Kings cannot waive Fraser. This is not something the Oilers should have done. Even a child can see this is wrong. However, I ask of you, is it possible the rules are to blame?

Consider that in most sports the rule is that trades are done pending medical. In that case, I always assumed a team would have its own doctors check the players to make sure they are okay. If they are not okay, either the deal is void, or you make a modified deal. However, this does not seem to be the case in the NHL.

After all, if this was true and the Kings had found a problem, it would be irrelevant what the Oilers' doctors say because the Kings' doctors would know they are lying. So the deal would be void. This is a rule change that most definitely needs to be in the next CBA.

The next interesting to note is the culture of the Edmonton Oilers. With the Leafs (Brian Burke is now GM of Toronto as opposed to Anaheim), Sabres and now the Kings hating the Oilers management for various reasons, it seems to me that soon nobody will want to deal with them unless they can get unbelievably lopsided deals.

This is not good for the Oilers. Players already don't want to go there, and now GMs don't want to deal with them. This could get ugly very fast. They need to change the culture of their team, or is lost.

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