Have we all become so naïve? Are we all so gullible? When prominent GMs around the league proclaim nearly in unison that they will not be trading away their star players today, many of us accept this to be truth, myself included.
And then I consider the source of the information: the same crew that gave us the “upper body injury” report.
Of course GMs are going to feed us lines about staying put before the trade deadline, it’s called leverage! When Anaheim’s Bob Murray lets it be known that an offer for Chris Pronger would have to knock his socks off, it’s not because he is hemming and hawing over moving the big defenseman – it’s because he wants to maximize his return, maybe make that Phil Kessel dream scenario come true.
And for a group that is usually so secretive, don’t you think it’s a little suspect for Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke to tell anyone who is listening that he turned down a deal that would have seen defenseman Ian White moved for a second round pick? Let’s read between the lines here: White will be moved, and the price, as negotiated through the media, is something more than a second round pick (or, a second round pick from a worse team).
In Tampa, GM Brian Lawton has had a baptism by fire this year, so what can we really discern from his “Vincent Lecavalier isn’t going anywhere” talk? If not Vinny, what about Marty St-Louis? The Bolts are still a bad team and the return for Gary Roberts or Mark Recchi isn’t going to stock those barren cupboards by itself.
So this begs the question, just how crazy will today be? Every year you would assume the collective caution and wit of GMs would increase, but don’t forget what P.T. Barnum said about suckers.
Olli Jokinen’s performance in the first 57 games of his Phoenix career may mean a future somewhere else, but will the Dogs be able to get value for a player who is clearly playoff kryptonite? Likewise, Marian Gaborik is technically out there, albeit in a hobbled, apathetic, soon-to-be-UFA kinda way. Can the Wild trade its all-time leading scorer for more than a bag of pucks? Certainly someone out there with a lot at stake – Pittsburgh, the New York Rangers – would have to think about Gabbo for at least a second, wouldn’t they?
Players such as Recchi, Nik Antropov and Bill Guerin have all been healthy scratches in recent days, so there’s more than a hint there.
Ottawa may be the bellwether today. If Jason Spezza switches home addresses, batten down the hatches because it will be a crazy deadline. If, however, the Sens stay in the middle of the road and jettison Antoine Vermette and/or Chris Neil, then maybe the arms race is more status quo with previous deadlines.
And if the sky falls, the deals drop and Dominic Moore is the biggest name to be moved? Well, the fun can still be salvaged if you like watching grown men stare at BlackBerrys all day on TV.
Ryan Kennedy is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey’s Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays, his column – The Straight Edge – every Friday, and his features, The Hot List and Prep Watch appears Tuesdays and Thursdays.
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