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Sean Leahy

Pass or Fail: Moving up the NHL trade deadline

Sean Leahy
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Now that Hockey Rumors Christmas Part I is over (Part II is July 1, the opening of the free agency period), the reflection period is upon us -- the winners and losers are sorted out, and teams who reshaped or tweaked their lineup are evaluated for the stretch run or the future.

With generally under 20 games to go, teams know, for the most part, where the stand on the playoff race. The Florida Panthers showed by keeping Jay Bouwmeester that they are serious (not to mention desperate) to make the playoffs. Anaheim, on the other hand, began their roster upheaval, dealing off two key cogs of their checking line in Kent Huskins and Travis Moen as well as Samuel Pahlsson.

With the current collective bargaining agreement stating that the trade deadline must be 40 days from the end of the regular season, does that create more trades or fewer deals? Would pushing the deadline day back a month to early February allow for more trades to be made by teams who might still find themselves in the playoff race?

On Feb. 4, the Phoenix Coyotes were tied for ninth in the Western Conference, one point behind Vancouver. If the trade deadline is at that point in the season, do the Coyotes become buyers instead of sellers like they were yesterday?

Deadline day used to be later in the month of March -- previously, 26 days before the regular season ended, before the salary cap made trades tougher to complete. Lyle Richardson, of Spector's Hockey and our Wednesday rumor chats, told us a deadline date around this time is just right:

"I believe it gives the teams enough time to shop for deals to help them down the stretch but at the same time doesn't go on so long that we end up with a large number of teams engaged in dumping salaries."

The other half of the Wednesday rumor chat tag team, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, agrees with Lyle, simply because the dollars make sense when general managers go looking for deals.

"I can't see the NHL moving the trade deadline back significantly, if at all, simply because of the salary cap era we're in. The deadline, with a month left in the season, allows teams to go for that last playoff push without having to pay major dollars for rentals. If anything, keep it to the end of February, but I tend to believe the league likes it where it is."

So, as we bid adieu Deadline Day '09 and now focus on the stretch run and Stanley Cup playoffs...

Pass or Fail: Should the trade deadline be moved back to early or mid-February?

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