What I’d like to propose here and now is that it’s time. Last season we saw a bench-clearing selloff that left a ton of gap in the roster, and this year we are almost certain to see the same. In another one of my posts I’ve discussed the need for bigger minutes sent the kids’ way, and maybe that’s something that’s been on your mind too (maybe not, whatever, I’m not a psychic – just roll with it). A lot of this could be solved by making some big moves, so why not get cracking?
It might seem strange to do so at this particular hockey moment, especially because the Rangers are winning a whole bunch of games lately, but it actually may be the third most conducive trade environment in the season behind the trade deadline and the draft. Both of those are fairly obviously events that lend themselves to dealmaking; the first one is literally called the trade deadline, and the second one is just a frenzy of hockey without any actual games played. This is right around Thanksgiving though, so it might seem a little bit weird.
Trade incentives are in the air however, and there’s good reason for that. Turkey Day has lent itself to the hockey world as an arbitrary-but-weirdly-accurate heuristic for playoff prognostication. Something like three teams over the past decade who were out of the playoffs on the third Thursday in November have wound up competing for the Cup come the only good season of the year, all apologies to Fall, Winter, and Summer.
NHL executives know this of course, and even if they don’t there’s always the broader vibe radar that front offices use to check the weather. Bubble teams may be finding themselves concerned they might be jumped by some squad on the outside looking in, hoping to add themselves to the list of teams that have broken in during the holiday season proper. Those same dreamers looking to make a name for themselves and usurp a present day wild card team will certainly be on the market for talent at this exact moment.
Teams on winning streaks looking to keep the momentum and secure their postseason spot, teams on a losing streak hoping it won’t come to bite them after the trade deadline, our real-deal contenders hoping to shore up their position and be perfectly comfortable resting their stars in the waning days of the regular season – all of these GMs are going to be at minimum kicking the tires. It’s incumbent on Jeff Gorton to take advantage of the current landscape and see what he can do.
Now, this comes with a few caveats. First is that the deadline will of course be bonkers, so we could always wait and capitalize then. A related angle there is that we don’t want to make a bad deal just because we really wanted to make a deal. But even then, there’s going to be phones ringing in the coming days, and there may be good trades to be made.
Whether GMJG wants to head out on the attack or play it a bit cooler is of course up to him, and has a lot to do with why he’s steering an NHL team back to contention and I’m not, but now is as good of a time as any. A big ship is leaving at some point this season, and if the skipper feels the moment is right then it’ time to disembark ASAP. Yes, even with the current winning streak fresh on everyone’s minds.