The NHL’s annual Trade Deadline extravaganza is Wednesday (actual deadline is 3 PM). Both TSN and Sportsnet will begin their specials at 8 AM in anticipation of blockbuster deals and a plethora of hockey talk. Considering they will need to fill 9 hours with something, both all-sports machines have begun ratcheting up the hype to create interest and anticipation.
If you listen carefully though, it is far more likely that this year’s deadline is going to be an extremely quiet one. Many teams lack any cap space to get anything accomplished at all. In fact, the Leafs yesterday placed unused and unnecessary winger Frazer McLaren on waivers just to create enough space to take centre Dave Bolland off of long term injury relief. The Leafs are currently playing with less than a full roster due to their lack of financial flexibility. Yes there are names like Ryan Kesler, Martin St.Louis, Alex Edler and Christian Ehrhoff floating around, but it is extremely unlikely (for the sake of not writing in absolutes) a team like the Toronto Maple Leafs could fit one of these players into their current cap predicament.
There is no doubt that the Leafs could use a 27 year old 6’4″ defenseman like Edler to slot into their top 4. He is exactly the type of blueliner they desperately need. However, fitting in his $5 million dollar cap hit isn’t easy (unless someone like Joffrey Lupul was going the other way, and that is not the type of return the Canucks want). While the day won’t be completely quiet (I expect some rental type deals to happen), I can’t see the blue and white pulling anything, big or small, off. Leaf management has repeatedly said they are not interested at all in a rental player and that all deals must be a dollar in dollar out type transaction. Based on that, I suggest Leaf fans don’t take the day off of work on Wednesday.
Trading is dramatically different now than it was in the past. With this being the first season where the cap has actually dropped, I doubt the proposed activity making the rounds are going to transpire. It’s far more likely that both Sportsnet and TSN scramble for filler most of the day and bemoan the fact that the day is so quiet. Don’t believe me? Here is what chief fire starter Darren Dreger had to say Monday morning on TSN 1050 Radio:
Dreger "it's fun to talk & speculate about these trade rumours, but when you factor in the cap situations most scenarios become a longshot"
— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) March 3, 2014