There normally is a lot of buzz surrounding the NHL trade deadline, which in years past has been the busiest transaction day of all of the four major sports. Since the lockout during the 2003-04 season, some big names have been moved in the hopes of being the final puzzle piece to help a franchise lift Lord Stanley’s cup. However this year came and went with little suspense, just one year after the busiest deadline in history, which saw 25 completed transactions.
In Canada the deadline is as close to a national holiday as there is, despite it not being printed on calendars, many fans consider it Boxing Day part two, or part deux, if we were fluent in French. People skip work and school to tune in to one of the numerous television stations that have at least ten so called “experts” who are trying to keep up with the latest news, press conferences and tweets.
However, in America only the few diehards like ourselves take it so seriously, but for the first time in quite a few seasons we can say the NBA trade deadline was much more exciting and here’s why.
There are usually a few decent trades before the day of the deadline, which wet our appetite for the proverbial main course, but this year there just wasn’t anything going on. Monday morning started off slowly and the first trade didn’t occur until around noon when the Florida Panthers sent Radek Dvorak and a fifth round pick to the Atlanta Thrashers for Patrick Rissmiller and highly touted forward Niclas Bergfors from the Atlanta Thrashers. The Panthers went on to make two more deals before the 3 p.m. deadline and were considered one of the days only winners. They acquired a mix of veteran talent and young superstars which could improve their team down the road.
There were plenty of small moves made, including the departure of the last remaining original Columbus Blue Jacket, Rostislav Klesla, who was an expansion pick with the team when they entered the league back in 2000.
But unlike year’s past, this year lacked the departure of a big marquee player. There were no Adam Oates or Pavel Bure caliber players on the for sale racks. That top tier player that everyone coveted was missing.
Yes, we know Dustin Penner went to the Los Angeles Kings but he had been somewhat of a disappointment since joining the Edmonton Oilers in 2007. He is having a good year, however with 21 goals and 18 assists and could be just what the Kings need to go deep in the playoffs this April. The Kings might have overpaid for the 28-year-old, giving up a potentially good defensive prospect Colten Teubert, a first-round pick, and a third-round pick but they want to win now and know they are close. Their goal tending is a whole different issue, though.
The teams are now set and will not be able to wheel and deal until the start of free agency in July. We can expect plenty of movement then, a lot more than what we saw yesterday.
Chalk this year up to the NBA.