We’ve all built up expectations in our minds before, only to be let down by reality. Maybe you expected the cabin you rented for the weekend to be far more homely and far less termite-infested? Perhaps you thought your prom night would end with a memorable romantic moment rather than you throwing up in the back of your stepdad’s Ford Aerostar? Or, it’s possible you anticipated Rogue One would actually be good?
It’s important to recall all of life’s major disappointments once in awhile as a grounding exercise, especially if you’re the type of person who thinks the NHL Trade Deadline (Wed., March 1) is going to be one of the biggest days of the sports year. (Looking at you, Canada! Two networks doing all-day coverage? Really?)
The day and week that should see the most player movement in professional hockey is constantly a dud, with timid general managers sitting on assets rather than dealing. The collective yawn brought on by this year’s lack of movement will be all the wider after the usually uneventful NBA deadline saw actual, meaningful deals.
There are obvious moves that need to be made. The Avalanche need to unload one of their top forwards. The Blues need to get something for Kevin Shattenkirk. Montreal needs to add a center. Yet, despite the fact that anyone with hockey understanding sees the need for these trades, one or more of them won’t happen. That’s just how this league operates.
To help lower your expectations, here are some realistic odds and props for the upcoming deadline.
NHL 2017 Trade Deadline Odds
Over/under how many trades happen on deadline day (March 1): 19.5
There were 19 moves made on deadline day last year. Sounds like a lot, but before you get excited, remember that tally includes trades like Corey Potter for future considerations. The overused line among NHL GMs is that “they like to get deals done before the deadline.” So, if there’s not a ton of action during the week prior, don’t expect things to suddenly explode on Wednesday.
This line might have been set higher before, but now reports indicate one of the teams expected to be a big player at the deadline, the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, won’t have their franchise fee settled in time. Vegas could’ve traded promises to not select players in the upcoming expansion draft for picks, which would’ve been a very attractive option for the few franchises that can’t seem to get their s**t in order. (This time, I’m calling out Anaheim!)
Over/under how many of NHL.com’s top 20 targets get traded before deadline: 7.5
Ben Bishop, Patrick Sharp, Matt Duchene: there are some sexy names floating around that list. Throw in former greats like Shane Doan and Jarome Iginla, and there’s certainly potential for a headline-grabbing trade. But the moves you’re most likely to get are the other guys: Martin Hanzal, Patrick Eaves, Radim Vrbata – solid pickups for contenders, but moves that lack a certain je ne sais quoi.
Odds Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog get traded: 5/9
The best prospect in the upcoming draft (in which Colorado is most likely to pick first overall) is Nolan Patrick. Were the Avs to take him, they’d be adding another young center to a team with Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon, and Carl Soderberg playing up the middle for the foreseeable future. To relieve that potential glut, and also just help Colorado rebuild, dealing Duchene makes the most sense. His contract expires the soonest, and he’ll fetch the most in an open market where a top center is rarely available.
Landeskog is another movable piece that could kick start Colorado’s rebuild. Currently under contract until 2021, the 24-year-old winger could make a lot of suitors very happy. But given that he has a modified no-trade clause, and GM’s seem to have a tough enough time moving players free of any restrictions, I’m not going to hold my breath.
Odds where Kevin Shattenkirk is playing on March 2:
- New York Rangers: 7/4
- Tampa Bay Lightning: 2/1
- Edmonton Oilers: 6/1
- St Louis Blues: 10/1
- Field: 11/1
The Blues have no illusions about re-signing Shattenkirk this offseason. As the best defenseman by a quarter-mile in the upcoming free agency class, he’s going to command a contract well beyond their means. So trading him for any assets is better than keeping him for one more playoff run, which will likely end quickly, considering they’ll have to get past Chicago and Minnesota just to escape their division.
The Rangers have been linked to Shattenkirk dating back to the summer, but there are other suitors out there as well. Tampa has been floated as a potential partner, possibly sending former Blues goalie Ben Bishop back to where he got his start.
Odds the Montreal Canadiens add a center: 1/4
This has to happen! It had to happen a month ago, and still, the Habs have yet to budge. They’ve just juggled Alex Galchenyuk, Phillip Danault, and Tomas Plekanec between lines, and are unable to get consistent production from anyone beyond their first-line pairing of Max Pacioretty and Alex Radulov. The team has also been mediocre in the faceoff dot. Beyond Carey Price going nuts in the playoffs, this doesn’t have the look of a team that’s ready to go win a Stanley Cup. Go add a difference maker down the middle. Hanzal is a perfect fit, like I told you a month ago!
Odds the eventual Stanley Cup winner makes a trade for a roster player: 1/9
It’s odd that NHL teams seem so hesitant to get deals done at the deadline, since every Cup winner since the salary cap era began made at least one deal of significance at this time of year. (Sure, it may be a stretch to call Brad May a “significant” add to the 2007 Ducks, but he did dress for most games in the playoffs, so that’s the rather low bar I’m setting.)
But for those fans that are tired of seeing teams like the Blackhawks and Kings win, at least give these franchises credit; they aren’t sitting on their hands. They’re constantly trying to make their teams better at the deadline. If other teams followed suit, maybe this day wouldn’t be a letdown every season.
Photo Credit: Sarah Connors [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.