Discussing hot topic players from the West who are creating an NHL trade deadline buzz
This year's March 5, 2014 deadline may seem like it's still quite the ways away. However, with the looming Sochi Games – NHL break and the condensed schedule before and after, the drop dead trade date will come faster than a cheetah narrowing the gap on its prey. Once the players return from Russia, it will be February 26, which is exactly one week from the deadline. In recent years, many deals have gone down a month earlier than the madness of deadline day or more. This is simply due to GMs around the league finally beginning to understand that you can get more value before the bidding wars inflate unrealistically on TDD.
However, this year could be an exception to this new trend, with Sochi getting in the way. I feel as if though many GMs will be wary to make a move for a Sochi-bound player until they return from the tournament – healthy. They will be stuck with newly acquired players injured overseas with little salary cap remedies available to add a replacement player as well.
Therefore, I believe many GMs will shelve wink-wink deals which will be ratified post-Olympics. There may well be a two week flurry of significant moves right up to March 5, as opposed to six weeks of sporadic major ones, followed by a myriad of bottom-six depth moves at the end.
This week and next week we're going to do a tour of the Western Conference teams and discuss hot topic players who may be on the bubble (sellers) or of interest (buyers).
Get the full scoop on who is trade bait, and NHL team needs (and contract statuses of players) in the Midseason Guide.