Here comes the NHL trading deadline!

Since March 11, 1980, the National Hockey League trading deadline has been a media circus that helps break up the professional hockey season. It even results in some actual news exposure outside the hockey sport world. Generally speaking, the deadline puts all teams on the same footing with respect to having set a team roster prior to the playoffs. Across the thirty team league, there are often as few as a half dozen transactions and seldom more than two dozen. The transactions are usually some combination of swapping players and draft choices although there are sometimes cash exchanges as well. Frequently more than one player is swapped for the one player that a team feels will help them through the playoffs. The trades make the business side of the game a bit easier in that it allows the general managers or other decision makers the opportunity to deal with player injuries or player chemistry that has resulted in a team weakness. This year the trade deadline is February 27, 2012 at 1500 (3pm) Eastern time. The current date is set as the fortieth day before the end of the regular season.
The trade deadline is an active period for sports writers and commentators and there is a discernable flurry of activity by the team business offices. Whether the perceived weakness, is blamed for not making a playoff run or the team not making their run to the expected round, veteran defensemen, hot goaltenders, or high scoring forwards are the usual targets. Then the businessmen have to figure out how to complete the deal. The high price of players and the team cap budget figure into the deals. Teams may be inclined to sell off expensive players, may have their sights on draft picks, or may have decisions based on contract timing. Free agency has resulted in sending players out from their home teams despite their connections to the community or their desire to stay with the team. “Show me the money!” as Cuba said. The business issue is that teams receive nothing when their unrestricted free agents sign with another team.
Internet, adio and television fans and pundits often devote many days of analysis to consider the possibility of trades and then several days afterwards to analyze the trades that have happened. Players do get caught up in the excitement although the trade deadline does not affect the team schedules for games, practices or other activities. While general managers are often the persons who provide information on their transactions, the players’ representative are also very busy in the background. The representatives are part of the transactions whether or not a trade is involved, particularly if their player is in contract negotiations. Players are often under pressure to make new contract signing decisions prior to the trading deadline.