Yesterday, Predators General Manager David Poile made a trade with the Edmonton Oilers. Bottom line, it was a forward, Matt Hendricks, sent to Edmonton for a goaltender, Devan Dubnyk. It really was much more than that.
For the fan, there is the “Fantasy” or “Rotisserie League” aspect of the move. It becomes a matter there of getting the numbers you want and sometimes giving up the numbers your trading partner is seeking. This type of thinking has been with us since the 1960’s and has gotten to the point where your friends may have developed complicated spreadsheets to govern their moves.
Something else needs to be considered – the human element.
Matt Hendricks, who was born in Minnesota 32 years ago, grew up and went through college there. He is married to Kimberley. They have twins: Gunnar and Lennon. He was drafted by the Predators in 2000, but has played for ten professional teams since leaving St. Cloud State in 2004. Edmonton will be his fourth NHL stop, following Colorado, Washington and Nashville. That’s a lot of moving! Thankfully, the twins won’t turn three until November, so they haven’t had to switch schools, but that isn’t all that far off into the future!
Devan Dubnyk will be 28 in May, and is from Regina, Saskatchewan. After finishing his junior career with Kamloops in 2006, he made three minor league stops before joining Edmonton. He told reporters in Alberta yesterday that the trade shocked him – the first time he has experienced one. Now he is faced with the need to make a sudden move as well. On top of that, he can be an unrestricted free agent at the end this summer, perhaps meaning yet another move for him.
David Poile has spoken about his early years in the business. His dad was an NHL player and was GM of both the expansion Philadelphia Flyers and the Vancouver Canucks. David was brought up in the game, and played collegiately at Northeastern University in Boston.
He got his first break in hockey management as an assistant to Cliff Fletcher, then GM of the Atlanta Flames, who opened for business in 1972. David would tell the story of how he would conjure up potential trades and present them to Fletcher, who then would talk about the human element discussed here.
Yes, it is much easier to make a “Fantasy League” trade. There is very little in terms of a human consequence there. Consider that the next time you read about a trade!