NHL Week in Review (December 8-14)

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The NHL is about to enter another special date that is becoming more important as the years are progressing.

There are always those specific dates that mean everything to teams as they get the chance to bring in new talent or sell off talent to look to the future.

When free agency opens the teams near the top of the heap are looking to sign the big players to find their way to the Stanley Cup.

The trade deadline is the last chance for teams to find their way back into the fight or to boost their talent.

These are some of the most important dates on the NHL calendar as GMs look at those dates as their biggest ties to shine.

In the last CBA another date emerged as a potential third date for these GMs and through the years it has grown in importance.

That date is December 19, which is the final day for a team to make roster moves before the NHL freezes rosters.

The purpose behind the freeze was a simple one and one that the players likely looked at very seriously.

It was a chance to give players a sense of stability during a very important time for those players and their families.

Christmas is a major holiday for most people around the world as it is a chance to spend time with family.

That includes NHL players who rarely ever get a break and try to take full advantage of the break they get over Christmas.

NHL players are among those select few who get to play a sport for a living and get paid well to play that sport.

It doesn’t mean that playing sports is a perfect life though as they spend most of their life away from family.

They are either on a road trip or training leaving little time for them to spend time with their loved ones.

The offseason is only a few months for some and even when they are in the offseason they are taking time to prepare their bodies for the season to come.

That makes the limited time they get with their families that much more important which is why the Christmas break is essential for so many players.

To make that break even better the NHLPA and NHL put in a rule that teams were not going to be allowed to move players during that break.

From December 19 until December 28 teams won’t be able to make changes to their roster other than a necessary move to stay under the salary cap should someone come off of injury.

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This essentially would mean that players didn’t have to worry about uprooting their lives and their families in the middle of Christmas.

There was no danger of a player being given to another team or for a player to be sent down to the AHL, aside from certain stipulations.

Instead, they get to relax, at least a little and enjoy their rare holiday with their families without the usual stress that comes with being a professional athlete.

That was always the intention for this roster freeze but the consequence of that freeze is almost a secondary trade deadline.

Some teams are looking to add some extra talent before Christmas in order to head into the new year with a team fully together.

Some teams want that extra boost for the new year while others want to try to climb out of their disappointing starts.

They look at this roster freeze as their last chance to make a move before the new year begins.

As GMs begin to use this date as a secondary trade deadline the talk about the potential moves is only heating up.

There are plenty of teams out there looking for something and although this is nowhere near as desperate as the trade deadline it is a bit of a rush to get something done.

The longer this goes the more likely that this turns into another one of those dates where GMs show their worth.

Some will be under pressure to try to make that move and some will make bad deals while under that pressure.

It may never reach the same level as the trade deadline because there is so much more time left in the season and other chances to make moves.

Still, this is another chance to pressure certain teams into making a deal that can benefit another team.

 

Overtime

GM Seach Begins

Seattle is the newest NHL franchise and as they settle in trying to lay certain things straight one big question remains, who will be their GM. The Seattle group will have a few hockey minds including Dave Tippet who will help them in that search. Reports surfaced this week that the group is coming up with a number of potential names for their first GM. They won’t talk to anyone until next spring and may not name anyone next year. The team won’t start playing until the 2020-21 season giving them time to make a decision. It will be an essential decision for the team as this GM will set the tone for this team through the expansion draft and beyond.

Cost Settled

The saga in Calgary continues as the Flames have been steadfast in their need for a new stadium but the city won’t cough up the money. The Saddledome is an out of date arena but Calgary is leading the charge for cities not footing the bill for stadiums that are used only for one team. Every step of the way to try to get a new stadium has fallen short and the latest just revealed the bill. A multi-use facility that would include a new arena for the Flames will reportedly cost $600-million. That will give the city a clear decision to make as they will need to decide whether or not to pay that money which will lead to a new stadium or another failed attempt of the Flames to get a new home.

The New Frontrunner

A lot of the talk beginning this year was about the superstars that had been great last year and what they could do this season. Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon were at the top of the list as both had such a great year in 2017-18. What is surprising this year though is the fact that it is a teammate of MacKinnon who has been the most impressive. Although MacKinnon and McDavid have still been great they are being surpassed by Mikko Rantanen who is having the season of his life. He became the first player to 50 points this week as he leads the charge and looks to continue his strong start throughout the year.

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