Tuesday, February 4, 2014
teams will have a mere 10 days before rosters are set for the upcoming playoff push. As always, the questions teams have to answer is are they 'buyers' or 'sellers'? With the loser point and inter divisional play keeping almost every team mathematically in the playoff race its difficult for even teams near the bottom to sell their fan bases that they are giving up, especially this early from season's end. Its one thing to sell off assets in March, but early February when there are still 30 or so games left?
2) A look at the current standings in the East show only Florida and Buffalo, and probably the NY Islanders clearly out of the playoff race. The Sabres are even as much as 20 points from the last 'wild card' spot. While in the West, Calgary and Edmonton (Alberta, we feel for ya!) are in a similar position as Fla and Buf. in the East. Both clearly out of contention. Probably 2-3 other teams are long shots. So at best that makes 7 sellers and 23 buyers? Not a good situation if you're a contending team looking to add a needed asset before the deadline to complete the roster prior to the playoffs. In addition to the usual teams looking to trade players for prospects/picks there are also some impending UFA's for which even playoff bound teams will have to decide to try to deal, resign or risk losing them for nothing. Players like Callahan/Girardi, Vanek/MacDonald in NY for instance are long rumored to be on the move if an extension can't be worked out. However, from talking with many folks 'on the ground' throughout the league we're told that its more likely than not that teams will stand put on February 7th. Why?
3) So why will it be quiet? Economics of course. Most of the 'buyers' are close to the cap max so swinging a deal now would be much more difficult than if its consummated in 3 weeks when an additional amount of salary has been eaten up. Yes, its not a huge amount, but when a team has a million or less of cap wiggle room that could mean the difference between adding a Vanek or having to pass. A Western conference asst GM told Fauxrumors to expect that "there will probably be a few small level deals, but it won't involve the 'big ticket items". Additionally teams are wary about some players (like Vanek) who are going to Sochi next week and don't want to pay for someone now, AND risk losing them to an injury even before they play a game for their new team. So expect the big day to be in March and from we've been told it will be "significantly more active" than previous years. In the mean time this artificial deadline will go by with a Thud!