Don't expect to see any blockbusters
TFP Columnist Tab Bamford doesn't expect to see any mega-trades
to happen by the Feb. 27 trade deadline.
CHICAGO, IL -- Lots of fans are currently asking, "When is the bottom
going to fall out?"
Or, from the perspective of other fans, "When will the flood gates
Everyone is staring at Feb. 27 on their calendar and counting the
hours until something significant happens. But the playoff picture
needs some Drain-o before the trades can flow.
In the Western Conference, only three teams have started to achieve
the necessary separation to begin considering which players are
available. Indeed, Chicago has lost six of their last ten entering
Tuesday night's contest in Denver, and yet they continue to sit
comfortably in sixth place in the conference while six teams battle
for the two postseason berths behind them.
How tight is the West? The longest current streak, either wins or
losses, in the conference is two games.
The Eastern Conference isn't much better. Tampa sits 10 points out of
eighth, but are actually closer to winning their division than bumping
Ottawa out of eighth. But the difference between eighth and fourth is
only five points, and the top four teams in that "competitive"
Southeast Division are separated by only eight point; the Bolts would
have to jump Winnipeg and Washington while catching Florida to get on
top of that race.
And the separation isn't happening in the East, either; only two
teams, New Jersey and Toronto, had a winning or losing streak of
longer than two games.
So if we take the teams that could, legitimately, consider the
postseason a realistic possibility out of the picture, there are maybe
seven teams getting ready to sell.
And some of them aren't ready to roll over.
Carolina re-signed Tim Gleason, and Anaheim gave Francois Beauchemin
an extension as well. In a market desperate for blue line help and
thin on available players, two of perhaps the most valuable chips were
taken off the market early.
That's because there's another factor slowing movement.
Some teams, like Carolina and Anaheim, appear to be accepting this
year's disappointing results as an anomaly and, in spite of pressure
to make a bold statement, continue to stay the course with a long-term
plan in place.
While fans may have been thrilled to contemplate the potential of a
name like Eric Staal or Ryan Getzlaf in another city, reality appears
to be contrary to those daydreams.
Over the coming weeks, injured players will return and others will
leave the ice for one reason or another. And the power of a three-game
swing in one direction or another could push some teams to find their
white flag and start making calls.
General managers will need to mitigate "how soon is too soon" against
"when is it too late," all while fans swap heart attacks for goals and
abuse Twitter while the paid professionals make the important