- The salary cap. With it appearing that the cap will stagnate next season and very likely contract the following season, GM's have to be very wary about adding future salary at the deadline. As we will mention later, it will make the addition of non UFA to be players with significant salary left on their deals almost impossible to move until the off season, if then. (See Danielle Briere, Michael Nylander, Vincent Lecavalier, Chris Pronger) Therefore most potential deadline deals will revolve around soon to be UFA's
- Too few teams are sellers. As of today a mere 12 days removed from the deadline only 5 teams can truly be said to be 'out of it' All are from the East. NY Islanders, Atlanta, Ottawa, Toronto,and Tampa Bay. No team out West is more than 7 points from 8th. Amazingly only 9 points separate the bottom 11 teams! Its so fluid that in 12 days the last place Coyotes, winners of one game in their last 10, could be back within a point of 8th if they get their crap together. What GM is going to throw away the season if they are so close. The playoffs is where teams make money so few owners of those teams will take kindly to a sell off. Do the Panthers trade Jay Bouwmeester, possibly hurting their chances of making the playoffs for the first time in 9 years? No! Therefore this will reduce the number of sellers to a bare minimum.
- Few Blue chip UFA's available: If a team makes a deadline deal, more often than not its for an impending UFA. A rental if you will. As mentioned earlier with the salary cap few GM's wish to add payroll for upcoming seasons this far in advance so its far more attractive to add someone who they can get relatively cheaply then discard after the playoffs if they choose. Right now there don't seem to be many players that fall into this category like Marion Hossa was last season, IE: A blue chip UFA to be on a team that is out of the playoff picture.
3) With this confluence of negative issues it appears that the trade deadline may in fact be a dud. Sure there will be a multitude of 'minor deals' A player for a 2nd 3rd or later round pick. The exchange of RFA's with similar contracts, etc. However we have been warned not to expect any of the block buster deals that rumour sites have been predicting were imminent since the season began. Hey Ekund, wasn't the Sundin signing suppose to break the grid lock ( The first domino?) LOL Many of the same hockey people did say that they believe we will see an uptick in the number of deals leading up to and during the 09 draft. As one told us, "There simply are too many big names that are on the block and that is where I think it will go down". Sorry folks, looks like we will have to wait another 4 months for the big deals. In the mean time, lets enjoy the stretch run. The real season is upon us!
As always keep it here for al the latest!