If you happened to not notice the trade deadline came and went last week, you’re not alone.  In all honesty – you didn’t miss much.

Thanks to the Olympic Break, we actually had 2 deadlines – an unofficial deadline, or “roster freeze” before the Olympics, and the official deadline on March 3, just as everybody in Canada was coming back to earth from the high of winning the Gold Medal.

Such is life in the salary cap world.  No longer can a team trade a player for trade’s sake.  Nowadays, a team’s management team has to fit the salary under the cap.  Not the easiest thing in the world to do.

So have any of the trades we witnessed on March 3 put any of the teams over the top?  This remains to be seen.  On paper, however, I just don’t see it.  One sports media outlet in particular was calling it the “worst deadline” since 2004, even though, yet again, there were a record number of moves made.  Then again, it’s quality, not quantity, right?

I often wonder if the trade deadline has become nothing more than a mere formality, a way for a team to trim the fat from its roster, in exchange for future considerations, as a means to balance the budget.  Case in point –Raffi Torres moved from Columbus to Buffalo, for defenseman Nathan Paetsch, and a 2nd round draft pick – fairly decent deal for some secondary scoring, not to mention a little sandpaper, right?

Then, you get a deal like Toronto sending forward Lee Stempniak to Phoenix, in exchange for a fourth and a seventh round draft pick.  The irony - this is the same player the Leafs acquired a little over a year ago for two players – Alex Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo.  Yet, they can’t trade a player like Tomas Kaberle because not only does he have a no trade clause – evidently nobody’s willing to take on the contract.

Scott Walker was an integral part of Carolina’s playoff run last spring – yet, he gets to go to Washington for no more than a 7th round draft pick?  Did they throw in some composite sticks and a box of pucks too?

OK, we already witnessed the Dion Phaneuf and Ilya Kovalchuk trades prior to the Olympics, so in all fairness, this year’s trade deadline already had a lot of hype to live up to.  However, and a big however, it’s become abundantly clear to me we’re now living in an age where teams are no longer concerned over the value of a player as much as the value of their contract.  And that, my friends, is a crying shame.

I think it was our good friend Brian Burke who put it best.  I might be a little out of context here, but his comments beg the question - if a franchise has to wait until the trade deadline to build their team as opposed to doing some minor tweaking, then aren’t they already in big trouble?

May the best team win.


More Puckin' Around...