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Will a trade help your team?

by Paul Kukla /
As we approach the trade deadline (all trades must be made by 3 p.m. ET on March 4), NHL general managers with teams in the playoff hunt are asking themselves a few questions.
Sure, they can make a trade, but will the trade they are thinking about actually improve their chances if they were to meet the favorites in the Eastern and Western Conferences?
Is the trade they are mulling over really THE TRADE that will put them on a level playing field with the likes of Boston, Washington, San Jose and Detroit? If not, then don’t expect your general manager to give up draft picks, prospects and younger players from the current NHL roster.
Why not make that type of trade, your team needs a shake-up, a jolt or a wake-up call? Think about it, your GM has all summer to make that type of trade, when he has a much clearer picture of the whole NHL scene. Right now, trades will be made to improve teams for the next three months, all made for one simple goal, a better chance at winning the Stanley Cup.
I expect more depth-type trades will be made by next Wednesday as opposed to the big name player being moved. The great faceoff man, the steady defensemen, the gritty forward and a power play or penalty kill specialist will be the players in demand by many of the playoff teams.
Now I know you want your team to be the best team on ice. You are tired and upset of not being able to compete on a nightly basis, but now is not the time to shuffle the deck and make wholesale changes. The trade deadline period is there to help teams gain an advantage as they head into the playoffs. If you think otherwise, wait until 4 p.m. next Wednesday and then evaluate the trades that were made.
Thinking out loud
* A few months ago the Dallas Stars were in a terrible way. Their on-ice play was simply bad, their off-ice issues were mounting and seemed to be snow-balling. At that time, I made a bold prediction, stating the Stars would turn their season around and make the playoffs. Hundreds of emails flowed in, questioning my sanity and my hockey knowledge.
The regular season is not over yet, but the Stars do look like a playoff-bound team. Led by Marty Turco, the Stars are now considered a formidable Stanley Cup contender. Funny how a team can make such a drastic turnaround and that is why I always stress to fans the season has many ups and downs and it is how the team deals with the lows that can determine their status come the end of the regular season.
* This time of year I start looking at the teams with the best goaltending and feel the better the goaltending the better the chance that team has to go deep into the playoffs. There is still time to get any goaltending issues resolved, but panic will start setting in quickly if a few teams cannot get their goaltending in order.
* Fans of teams on the playoff bubble, how do you feel about the chances of making the playoffs? Let me know in the comments below or leave a comment here.
As always, if you have a comment, question, rant or rave, feel free to email me at
Have a great hockey week!

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