Confusion reigned Monday night, as the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks announced that Trevor Daley and Rob Scuderi would switch teams. Thanks to the handful of remaining fans who are old enough to remember such things, it was eventually explained that this was an obscure type of player transaction known as a "midseason trade."
OK, that's laying it on a little thick, but fans could be forgiven for needing a refresher on how these deals work, given that we'd had only one all season, and that one didn't involve any actual NHL players. But now that general managers Stan Bowman and Jim Rutherford have broken the seal for the rest of the league, why stop at one? We got a minor deal between the Habs and Coyotes Tuesday night. Maybe Scuderi-for-Daley can be the domino that finally, mercifully gets the trade market moving.
That's probably a pipe dream, but just in case: Who's up for an old-fashioned ranking post? Let's take all 30 teams and try to figure out which ones are the most likely to make a trade or two (or more) between today and the week leading up to the trade deadline, when everyone tends to wake up and start dealing.
I'll be looking at each team's position in the standings and how much cap room it has available. More importantly, we'll be looking at the track record of each of the 30 GMs, which ones tend to be the most risk-adverse, and which ones are willing to get aggressive.
Remember, this isn't a ranking of the best GMs -- it's a ranking of the ones who are most like to make a deal over the next six to eight weeks or so. And sure, sometimes the best trade is the one you don't make, as the cliché goes, but for this exercise we're looking for quantity over quality.
Is this all an exercise in guesswork? Mostly. Does it virtually guarantee that two GMs I've ranked low will hook up on a blockbuster by the end of the week? Almost certainly. Will I attempt to take credit for that by claiming the whole thing was an elaborate reverse jinx? Cannot confirm or deny.
30. Ken Holland, Detroit Red Wings
Current standings: 16-9-6, second place in the Atlantic
Estimated cap room: $5.2 million
As the longest tenured GM in the league, nobody gives us more of a track record to look at than Holland. And that track record is fairly clear: Don't expect the Red Wings to do much until the deadline nears. That's when Holland typically does all of his trading work; he hasn't made an offseason deal involving players since 2012, and hasn't made one between opening night and the end of January since 2002. (That was the big "Jason Woolley from Buffalo for future considerations" blockbuster, in case you were wondering.) History says he'll probably do something around the deadline, but if he makes a deal before then, it will be the first time in the history of the cap era.
29. Brian MacLellan, Washington Capitals
Current standings: 21-6-2, first place in the Metro
Estimated cap room: $40,000
MacLellan has only been on the job since last offseason. Last season, he didn't make any midseason deals until the deadline, and his only move that approaches "big deal" status was last summer's T.J. Oshie trade. That doesn't give us much to work with, but we might not need it. As currently constructed, the Caps are already very good and very close to being capped out, so we're unlikely to see much action in Washington until closer to the deadline.