While most rational people would consider a 30 day lead-up time to the trade deadline to be a bit excessive, hockey people are another breed. Some might say we’re just fastidious, knowledgeable folks, focused on the details and anticipating the future. But I have another theory: hockey fans are drama queens.
We like to celebrate/freak out/rant about trades that haven’t happened yet and probably never will. Probably 95% of hockey writing online is driven by that basic concept, is it not? That concept being “making crap up.” We like the drama.
So, who’s on the trading block? That’s easy. Everyone.
TSN kickstarts their own countdown by naming some players they anticipate will be up for grabs. Jay Bouwmeester seems to have the starring role of Big Fish in this year’s selection, but there are plenty of other choices on their radar. Guys like Nik Antropov, Chris Neil, Keith Tkachuk, Michael Nylander. Not to mention the entirety of the Atlanta Thrashers. (To listen to the hockey rumor mill, one might be forgiven for thinking Don Waddell was selling everyone on his roster and switching his business over to roller hockey disco nights after the deadline.)
And speaking of the Atlanta Thrashers, Mike Knobler has started a fun new feature on his blog at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. After every home game, Mike will be reporting “who has scouts/front office people in the building each time the Thrashers play from here to the deadline.” The first installment in yesterday’s blog spotted these teams snooping around the building: Red Wings, Maple Leafs, Coyotes, Ducks (2 people), Canadiens and Predators.
Someone, somewhere, is no doubt pondering a “Kovalchuk to the Coyotes” rumor at this very moment.
So, who’s snooping around YOUR favorite team? Have you seen scouts around, heard any reliable (or nutty) rumors? Who might be trade-bait and what teams might be looking to poach players from your team’s roster? And don’t let no-trade-clauses or common sense stop you from passing on the rumor. A good hockey trade rumor never met a NTC it couldn’t rationalize away as merely a frivolous obstacle.
In a brave new world where the Phoenix Coyotes might actually be buyers, not sellers, anything is possible. The problem is, with so many NHL teams logjammed near the top-16, and so much time left to make the playoffs, everyone (except, presumably, the poor NY Islanders) might consider themselves a buyer for the next 30 days.
So anything might happen. After all, Sean Avery has no doubt made great personal strides with his “anger management” classes by now. How long do you think it’ll take some team’s scout to decide he could make a name for himself as a “radical genius” by recommending his employer give up a 1st round pick for the Captain of Crazy himself?
It’s coming, I’m telling ya… ;)