Now as many of you might know, (and by many I mean predominently anyone American or Canadian reading this) that yesterday was the NHL's trade deadline. Much like the magic and mystery that is the January transfer deadline in football, this is the last chance for the 30 hockey teams to get in those missing pieces to the puzzle that is making the Stanley Cup play-offs!
Now this got me thinking about the differences between transfers and trades, whats the better system? Does everyone get value or not?
But first of all my thoughts on the trades that went down.
Now first of all, I have to talk about the Penguins, they are my team what can I say. The legend that is Penguins general manager Ray Shero is normally a wizard on deadline day. In the past he has brought in crucial players such as Gary Roberts, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz and, not forgetting, Marian Hossa on the last day. However this year he was very quiet, bringing 3 guys in before the day, and nobody on it.
I think the 3 guys he brought in were very astute considering the situation the Penguins find themselves in with arguably their 2 most gifted players (Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin) out injured.
In trading Alex Goligoski, who I was a big fan of, to the Stars for a young forward in James Neal and young defenseman Matt Niskanen, not only replacing the asset with a long term solution in Niskanen, but also bringing a prospect and someone who can contribute now in James Neal has to be good business. Hopefully, Goligoski can find the platform in Dallas to be a franchise defenseman for them, because I think he could be good enough for it. Also to bring 38 year old Alex Kovalev back for a 6th and 7th round pick from Ottawa is great because of his scoring capabilities and his experience on a team that needs to keep pace without many of its leading scorers.
As for the rest of the league, I haven't a huge knowledge on who will do better in the long term but the 3 deals that stood out to me were Dustin Penner going to the Kings, who already have a frightening team and this will simply add to that, Tomas Kaberle swapping Toronto for Boston, which clearly shows their Stanley Cup intent, and, for purely personal reasons, its good to see former Penguin bruiser and one of my favourite players, Jarkko Ruutu, moving to Anaheim, a team I actually like.
So trade or transfer? Should it be money or assets that determine a fair swap?
I, like many people who had the day off on 31st January, was glued to Sky Sports News for the deadline day coverage. I personally love it, I can see that people in the game don't like it because it makes clubs take risks on players just to fill gaps that have developed through the season, but I feel that its exciting seeing the names that the press come up with to link to clubs that you would never have dreamed of. However, I do agree that it drives up the prices in players, such as Andy Carroll moving to Liverpool for £35 million even though he has only one season of Championship and 6 months of Premiership experience under his belt.
Now is a cash substitute a fair way of dealing players or should a club get a player that they think is of equal quality. Well you could argue that the way football clubs handle their money, a money substitute would be beneficial to them. However, Newcastle may have got £35 million for Carroll but unfortunately money does not score goals for the rest of the season, whereas in a trade they would have got a decent player back. Also dealing in cash seems to give the players power over their employer as a new contract is agreed with every club they go to, so players like Stephen Pienaar can force the hand of their club to sell them by refusing to sign a new contract.
The trade gives power to the clubs because when a player moves to a team his contract gets taken over by his new team. Also in a trade you know you aren't going to be left short in an area if you do it right, the two parties agree that the players or draft picks moving are of benefit to each team, no team can dominate in the way that the likes of Chelsea do, splashing out millions that other clubs simply can't say no to.
Although giving more power to the clubs isn't the perfect way either, as players don't have a choice. If a player is traded, thats it he is going, no ifs or buts about it. So it must be impossible for an athlete to settle anywhere in his career, because who knows, the next day you could be moving to the other side of the country. It could be argued that they have to take the rough with the smooth, and that they earn a huge amount of money, so they can give up their security for that. Who knows? I know it would worry me thinking about where I would end up next?
So my verdict is that I have no verdict. I will leave it to you to form your own opinion. All I know is that when deadline day comes, I will be watching.