“…He who hesitates ( is lost)….” Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1912
Early March? With five weeks to go in the regular season? Come on. I know we think a bit out of the box at On Goal Analysis (OGA), but we KNOW the OLD date for The NHL Trade Deadline was too late for about 2/3 of the NHL’s teams. Even later? This short blog states why MARCH 2009 is too late for The Trade Deadline and recommends when to hold it.
How Late Is Too Late? Why do we at OGA say The Trade Deadline comes too late? Here are three reasons reasons:
1. By our Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC) as of today, 13 teams have clinched a playoff berth and seven have been eliminated. With 67% of the playoff picture ‘drawn,’ Trade Deadline action is dubious for most of the NHL. Teams that have clinched should make trades if they believe a key player/position puts them late into Playoff rounds. If you have been eliminated, the only reason to trade is to work toward next year and beyond. So the Trade Deadline is really guaranteed to be an immediately useful tool for only the 10% of teams still fighting for a remaining position.
2. The PQC also states some teams are really already eliminated because, unless they can afford to draft an entire, top line, a puck-moving/offensively oriented defenseman and an elite goalie, they cannot increase their winning percentage enough to change their Playoff fortunes between now and the end of the year.
3. Losing is both cumulative and compounding in its effort to eliminate a team from Playoff contention. It is cumulative in the fact that a team will eventually be defeated so many times they lose their way out of a Playoff berth. It is also compounding because a single loss by the Number 1 team in Atlantic potentially places the Number 2 Atlantic team that was not even playing a game that night in the division’s top Playoff seed. In the Western Conference where the difference between the current Number 8 seed and Number 15 is only nine points, that loss above means the same thing between Number 8 and Number 9.
So that said, the Trade Deadline comes too late to change the fortunes of 2/3 of the NHL and would better serve a team in the late NOVEMBER to very early JANUARY timeframe. If it is NOT going to be done then, OGA has an alternative recommendation: On Friday of the All Star week, and billed/put on with the same fanfare as the NHL Entry Draft. Think of the draw to the All Star Game festivities if this, INTERNATIONAL Hockey fan’s holiday is connected to the fan fare of the NHL All Star game! Commercialism, hype, and outcome will all yield big-time, positive results for the NHL.
Let’s do this in 2011 on Friday before the All Star Game! (And we at OGA apologize for not thinking of this during last season so we could be seeing that all day today.) But March? As the song says, “…Well it’s too late baby, now it’s too late….” Carole King.