The Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals rank among the teams who’ve paid up big for trade deadline rentals, only to see mixed results (especially recently). For that reason, they’re sending signals that they might be quiet this time around.
“You see so many guys that are traded for pretty high picks and have very minimal impact,” Barry Trotz told the Washington Post.
Indeed, the Blackhawks paid an especially high price in 2015-16, giving up two high draft picks, Marko Dano and Phillip Danault (currently playing a significant role for the Montreal Canadiens) for an ineffectual group of rentals in Andrew Ladd, Dale Weise and Tomas Fleishmann. That’s like coming home from Blockbuster with a bunch of Ernest movies.
Sometimes it’s about the price or the quality of players, but don’t disregard the crash course a rental often faces in adjusting to a new city and new linemates. It makes it easier to see why Trotz views Lars Eller as Washington’s equivalent to a deadline acquisition.
“There’s something to be said for chemistry and keeping your guys together and not having someone come in externally, swoop in and try to find a role for him,’’ Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘So we’ll see. Things change quickly. But as we look at it today, I’m not expecting a big addition like that.”
Such thoughts resonate even with teams that might make a big splash.
While Pierre LeBrun reported in Tuesday’s edition of TSN Insider Trading that the Nashville Predators have inquired about Matt Duchene, they also wonder if another tide-turning trade would be too much for a team that finally seems like it’s on the same page.
And it’s also worth noting that teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning aren’t going to happily give up pieces like Ben Bishop for cheap, not after seeing teams mortgage their longer term future for quick fixes during previous deadlines.
In other words, if you’re watching pundits awkwardly try to pass time during a quiet 2017 trade deadline, it might just come down to teams learning from the past.
Here’s hoping they don’t take history’s lessons so seriously that we don’t get to enjoy a little quality intrigue and entertainment, though.