Expect busy trade deadline still

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:48 PM ET

After working the phones feverishly the last few , Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has come away with two things.

The first is a quartet of key acquisitions he hopes will fill the few holes there were on an already deep and dangerous Bruins roster.

The second is a theory on why so many deals like his came to fruition so far ahead of Monday’s NHL trade deadline.

“I talked to more managers and they’re all talking about trying to be more pro-active and getting deals done and not losing deals,” Chiarelli told the Sun.

“That’s kind of been the theme of conversation over the last two months, so it doesn’t surprise me to see so many deals go down last week.”

He may be one of the only ones who wasn’t caught off guard by the delicious flurry of deals that set an NHL record. Prior to the recent trading binge, the highest number of swaps made between one and three weeks out from the trade deadline was nine, which happened just four years ago. This year that same window saw 18 deals.

Why the shift in mentality?

“One is obviously the parity and the battles for playoff spots, so there are less sellers and you’ve also got a low level of supply and demand in key positions,” said San Jose GM Doug Wilson, who moved Derek Joslin out to grab Ian White last week with hopes of integrating the former Flame into his lineup as soon as possible.

“So, if you need a centremen or a defenceman, as most people have prioritized, that’s supply and demand.”

Act now or watch those around you scoop up the same sort of assets you’re looking for.”

“It’s so tight and if you sense you’re ready to make that big step you have to jump on that cycle,” said Oilers GM Steve Tambellini, who has so far resisted the urge to jump on numerous offers for both Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner.

“GM’s recognizing the state of their development say ‘this may accelerate me and give me two rounds of playoff experience or go all the way.’ So they’re making the deals and paying good prices for them.”

So, the question of the week is whether there’ll be any moves left to be made on trade deadline day when the major sports networks try to fill wall-to-wall coverage.

“I think so,” said Chiarelli.

“There are still plenty of players out there in play. It’ll probably force more GMs to be a little more creative and do more hockey deals instead of rental deals.”

Such “hockey deals” are the ones that see both teams moving major, signed assets like Erik Johnson for Chris Stewart or James Neal for Alex Goligoski. Those are the ones that have surprised many, including Tambellini.

“What I think is interesting is the profile players who are recent draft picks that are moving — a No.-1 overall pick was moved (Johnson),” said Tambellini.

“Teams seem to be more willing to consider those type of assets whereas before I don’t think you saw those type of players considered. Given all that’s happened I really think there will be movement right up until the deadline.”

And that, said Chiarelli, is where things get scary, which is just another reason why he wanted to move quicker this year.

“I know from the experience I’ve had when you go into those last couple days anything can happen, good or bad,” he said.

“Then what happens is you end up stuck at the end and you don’t really have what you want. And you end up spending more on someone you don’t want. And then you feel more pressure to do something because you haven’t done anything. It just compounds itself.”

For the sake of TV executives and the fans they serve, let the compounding begin.

eric.francis@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/ericfrancis

Eric Francis appears regularly as a panellist on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada

Graphic

Trades 7-21 days out from the deadline.

10-11 -- 18

09–10 – 0 (Olympics)

08-09 -- 5

07-08 -- 5

06-07 -- 9

05-06 -- 2


Videos

Photos