NHL Week in Review (February 18-24)

 

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It is one of the busiest times of the year as the trade deadline is almost here with teams trying to deal until February 26.

It will be one of the most active days of the year if only for the media who will be talking about the potential trades and analyzing what has happened.

There is no guarantee that any movement will actually happen but for fans, it is a constant date to circle on the calendar.

There is one constant debate that rises out of the trade deadline though and for some, it is all about their philosophy.

The trade deadline has brought to light the idea of rental players, a player that a team trades for that won’t stick around long.

Essentially these players are meant to be on the team for the playoff race to help them to the Stanley Cup and then leave in the off-season.

At this point, any player that is going to be a free agent at the end of the season is a rental player and there are very differing opinions on these players.

Some see them as a great opportunity for the player and the team as the team gets the piece they need to make a run and the player gets to play for a contender while still seeking a big payday after the season.

Some don’t see the value in these players though as they see them as a temporary solution to a much bigger problem.

Bringing in one player for a few months is not going to help build a team and might not give you what you need to make a real run.

With the player moving over knowing that they are on their way out some would think that these rental players have little motivation.

The entire idea of rental players heads straight into the biggest debate in the league especially at this time of year.

The debate is in any professional sport but one that nobody has found an answer because every side could be a good one.

There are those GMs that believe that there is a legitimate value in building a team to win in the long run.

They believe in the draft and develop mentality where they can build a team from unknowns to contenders.

This idea works well as teams that can accomplish this task and find those young players to build on tend to experience long periods of being great.

The problem is that this idea takes a long time and in the world of sports the way it is right now, patience is a rare commodity.

Everyone has to be on the same page because impatience by anyone in the mix means nothing will stay the same.

An owner could get impatient and fire the GM or the coach and then things will need to start over from 0.hockey-sidebar

There are others who believe that when the time is right teams need to take advantage and abandon any building.

These are the teams that are good but then go and sign big names spending money to buy a championship.

The problem with this is that these teams might win but they don’t last very long as most of the time they can win one championship before they are broken apart.

That is the same thought process that is a part of the rental player discussion as those GMs that are willing to trade for a rental player are taking their shot.

They are will to sacrifice the future, in what they likely will be sending back, in order to try to compete right now.

Some are not willing to make those trades though as they look at rental players as a waste of a trade.

They don’t think that there is value in adding one person for a couple of months especially if it costs prospects or draft picks.

Those debates will happen throughout the final hours of the trade deadline as GMs try to find what they can do to compete.

It is never easy to find that difference in the league and for some teams, they seem like one or two pieces away from winning a Cup.

What that is worth is the biggest debate as some will believe that they can add someone but don’t want to sacrifice the future.

Others will see this as their time to compete and will be willing to give up more to get that guy that they need.

It will all be up for debate and some teams will make some big moves while others will stay the same.

Either way when the dust settles the true contenders will emerge and teams will begin their run towards the playoffs.

 

Overtime

Olympic Champions

The Olympics are officially over and two teams are sitting on the top of the mound after the Olympic tournament. On the women’s side, the Americans were able to break a drought winning their first gold medal since 1998. On the men’s side, things were a little less predictable as the Germans had gotten past the Canadians in the semi-finals to get their chance. They were taking on the odds-on favourites in the Olympic Athletes from Russia. It was the OAR that took the gold but the Germans made the tournament interesting.

The Sale Continues

The Ottawa Senators have already begun their sale as the team is clearly becoming one of the bigger sellers for the trade deadline. Their first major deal came when they sent Derick Brassard to the Penguins in a three-team deal. It signalled the start of the open market for the Senators and things might just be getting started. Rumours continue to build about their biggest name in Erik Karlsson who is listed right at the top of many boards and could be the biggest player dealt this year.

2022 Already in Doubt

 With the Olympic tournaments ending the questions were bound to come about the next games and what the NHL might do in 2022. The games in Korea were always going to be tough to sell to the NHL brass but with a vested interest in China, the Beijing Olympics in 2022 could be a better idea. This week with the Olympics on the mind, Garry Bettman put that doubt out there claiming that he doesn’t see what the advantage of going to the Olympics in China would be, leaving many to believe the players will be held out once again.

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