Expectations for the NHL’s 2014 Trade Deadline.

The Olympic roster freeze deadline, which many NHL followers (including myself) expected to be an early trade deadline, was a dud. The biggest moves of the week saw the NY Islanders ship pending free agents Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin to the Chicago Blackhawks for a fourth-round draft pick, while the Montreal Canadiens dealt Raphael Diaz to the Vancouver Canucks for checking-line center Dale Wiese.

A popular theory for the lack of activity suggests teams preferred to wait until the March 5 trade deadline to make significant deals, especially with a number of clubs involved in tight races for playoff berths. That certainly played a role, but the lowered salary cap is the real reason for the limited activity, not just leading up to the Olympic roster freeze but throughout this season.

Will Ryan Callahan and Thomas Vanek be moved at this year's trade deadline?

Will Ryan Callahan and Thomas Vanek be moved at this year’s trade deadline?

That’s led to some anticipation there might not be much player movement in the ten days from the end of the Olympic break leading up to the March 5 trade deadline. While that’s possible I believe there will be some activity. The biggest question is how many of the star players who’ve been bandied about in the rumor mill might actually move.

Seeing names like Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek and Ryan Callahan in rumor headlines certainly stirs up excitement. However, the combination of high asking prices by their current clubs and the reduced salary cap could result in those players being too expensive to move by the deadline. That could force their respective clubs to significantly reduce what they’re seeking in return in order to move them by March 5.

What we will likely instead see is lesser lights – Edmonton’s Sam Gagner, Buffalo’s Matt Moulson, NY Islanders’ Andrew MacDonald, Calgary’s Mike Cammalleri – becoming the biggest names dealt by the trade deadline. Indeed, the movement of second- and third-tier talent has become more commonplace in recent years.

Even then it’ll depend upon the asking prices. If the aforementioned players are the most likely to move, their teams could either demand more than they’re worth or try to stir up a bidding war in hopes of increasing the return. That could limit how many of these players are actually traded by the deadline.

It’s also possible that, like the past couple of trade deadlines, most of the activity will come within the final couple of hours leading up to the 3 pm ET deadline on March 5. That means hours and hours of talking heads on TSN and Sportsnet forced to fill time evaluating the potential trade value of secondary talent.

To sum up, there will be some trade activity in the final days leading up to the trade deadline. Don’t be surprised, however, if the deals don’t involve many stars.

6 Comments

  1. Disagree! Watch out for a couple of significant trades. Kadri will be part of one, San Jose will also be involved and maybe the NY Islanders!

  2. Kadri won’t be traded!

  3. I agree with you Spector…..However, I could see Miller going to the Panthers as someone to build around. Don’t know if that helps Miller with his family situation though, and he might nix that trade.

  4. I’ve been a follower of the trade dead line for some time now. And if it’s anything like that last few, especially last years, then I think this dead line is going to be a bust. Entertainment wise. Ever since the cap, it’s gone to crap. I see the bigger name trades happening days before, if not the day before. The actual day of, is going to be those guys on TSN & Sportsnet just talking for hours and jumping out of their seats when two teams swap AHL help. Yawn! Maybe if they moved back the time of the deadline, we’d see more action that day? Ya think? As for my Oil trading Gagner…I don’t see it happening. Why? Who’ll replace him as the 2nd line center man? No, I think they should hold on to him for at least another season, or the final year of his contract, and if nothing has improved by then, then go out and get a return for him. I still believe he’s got the potential to help this team win big. There are other assests in the system or current team we can part with now and get some improvement back in return. Explore those options first. If the Oil want to make a big bold move, then I say, use Yaks. They picked the wrong player me thinks. Ryan Murray should of been their choice. I mean up until then wasn’t defense an issue? If they do trade Gagner, I hope they don’t cave and have to pay part of his salary. That would be dumb. He’s not hurting the team. Why should they have to take on his salary? It’s either a player for player swap or nothing. And it would be nice if that other player was of the same age or younger with a good record behind him with room for potential stardom. I suppose we need help on the D. So, I’m looking forward to see who is dealt out of Edmonton, as long as it’s not Gagner, but I’m sure this trade deadline is not going to be very exciting. I’ll watch the highlights. Thoughts? :)

  5. I’m thinking the teams who need Vanek the most would be contenders like the Penguins or Kings. I could see those teams looking to rent him for a first round pick and prospect. Both teams also have available defensemen who could be dealt along with a lower round draft pick.

  6. Right now, there should only be five potential sellers – Buffalo, Edmonton, Florida, Calgara, and the Isles. All the other teams have realistic shots at making the playoffs and should be hesitant being a seller. Callahan – do the Rangers sell him off and hurt their own playoff run? Is there any contending team that Callahan would be worth more to than he is to the Rangers?

    I think with the Kings and Penguins both being strong Stanley Cup contenders but having short-term holes, they’ll be aggressive buyers. Maybe a team with little playoff success like Minnesota or Columbus will want to make some noise. There will be buyers.