The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/26/11 at 12:14 AM ET
Yahoo Sports’ Nicholas J. Cotsonika spoke to Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford, Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk and Red Wings GM Ken Holland about the staggering number and, more importantly, substance of this year’s pre-trade deadline deals, and Holland believes that teams simply can’t afford to wait for the perfect deal when the standings are so very tight:
“In the history of the National Hockey League, the competition has never been closer,” Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “And I think it’s going to be closer next year, it’s going to be closer the year after, it’s going to be closer the year after.” And so GMs can’t afford to wait to improve their rosters. “The managers feel the sooner they can add somebody to change their team, they’re going to try to do that,” Rutherford said, “and that’s why we’ve seen this.”
Parity puts pressure on everybody. If you aren’t part of the tight playoff race, you have to ask yourself why, and you have to put yourself in position to get back into the race as soon as possible. You might be less patient with a player like Johnson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 NHL draft, who played only 203 games for the Blues before they shipped him out. And in a younger league in which free agency now begins at 27, no longer 31, maybe you can afford to be.
“I do think that moving younger players now is easier to do, because when you go to make up for it, you’re not getting a player in his 30s that’s moving further away from his prime,” Rutherford said. “You’re actually able to get players that are just going into their prime now or in their prime.”
That’s the final factor in all of this: GMs are more comfortable with managing the salary cap and the other nuances of a collective bargaining agreement in its sixth season. Old thinking has given way to bold thinking.
“When you’re one and two years into the CBA, we’re all trying to figure out the dynamics of it,” Holland said. “In 2007, we might have been thinking a little bit about making decisions based upon the old CBA. We’re all now making decisions based upon the new CBA. … I think everybody’s got a pretty good understanding of how the system works – the short term, the long term.”
Continued, and as usual, what Cotsonika writes is worth your time.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.