March 01, 2011
On Monday, the Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers got together on a trade that sent defenseman Dennis Wideman(notes) to the Capitals for forward prospect Jake Hauswirth and a 2011 3rd-round pick. And really, what isn't sexier at the trade deadline than speaker phones and signed multi-paged documents, right?
Welcome to the reality of NHL transactions. Courtesy of NHL Network, check out this cool glimpse at how a trade call goes down in the League offices:
Fascinating stuff from a hockey nerd perspective, especially the timing of the trade: This thing gets done way before it's officially announced, so the players can be informed and the team staff can get their houses in order for the big reveal.
Also cool: a glimpse at the actual trade sheet the teams use. It's literally fill-in-the-blanks on players, picks and conditions on both. Does the NHL have this stuff going back through the years in some filing cabinet? And if so, what, exactly, would the Gretzky Trade document fetch at auction?
The gentleman on the phone is National Hockey League Associate Counsel Daniel Ages, who offered this primer on the trade process in an earlier video:
Now when you see Bob McKenzie reporting on a deal that's about to go down after the teams are "on their trade call," you'll know what it means. Which is managerial underlings on speakerphones and oodles of paperwork.
UPDATE: Reader Dean in the comments asked about how the NHL checks salary cap figures on these calls, and the NHL sent over an answer:
"Those questions about whether each team has the cap space to fit in the player(s) it is acquiring are mere formalities. Central Registry already has checked the cap space, the draft pick availability and any no-trade clauses before the trade call even begins."
So there you go. Thanks to the NHL for the clarification.