Hockey 101 – What does the NHL Trade Deadline mean?

Posted on February 15, 2012 by


There is a lot of uproar this time of the hockey year regarding the NHL trade deadline. I thought I’d put together a little explanation of what the deadline means to the NHL and for the Kings. This little article is not supposed to go in-depth but to help those who are new or just want to get a few things straight. 

I’ve had a lot of questions from new fans and even fair weather fans that definitely warrant explanation. So let’s start with a few:

 What does the trade deadline mean?

  • The trade deadline is a date set by the NHL. After this date and time, no trades are allowed for the rest of the season.

 What date is the trade deadline this year?

  • The deadline for this season (2011-2012) is February 27, 2012 at 3 pm est.

 Why trade players at this time and not through the season?

  • There are trades that happen through the season, but most trades happen in the off season (in between seasons) and before the trade deadline.
  • Teams in February that are in playoff position and want to make a hard run for the cup are called “buyers”. They want to “buy” or trade for a player that will help them through the rest of the season and into the playoffs.
  • Teams in February that are not in a playoff position and want to make their team better for the next season are called “sellers”. They want to “sell” or trade for players that may help them in the next season.

I’ve heard of a No Trade Clause. What is that?

  • A no-trade clause is a part in the player’s contract that states he cannot be traded. Only the best of the best get this clause in their contracts. This is not common. A player can waive his no-trade clause to get traded to another team. Sometimes a player can stipulate in his contract which teams he wants to be traded to.

 What does this mean for the Los Angeles Kings? Well, we are definitely a “buyer” team. We are in position to make the playoffs and we are missing a few pieces. One, we really need more scoring. So this trade deadline, our GM, Dean Lombardi, will be looking around for scoring. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT A TRADE WILL HAPPEN. It just means that if DL knows what is good for him and wants to keep his job, he will be fighting hard to find us a scorer before 2-27-12.

 But…but…but…what do we have to give up in the trade you ask? This is the hard part. Our boys! Our team! Our Kings! Who goes? Well, if you want something good you have to give to get. The better the player you acquire, the more you have to give up. If we do end up getting scoring help before the trade deadline, look to see Bernier, JJ, Voynov, Lotki, Stoll, Penner (probably not) in some form go to another team.

This is where the fun is. Following the teams, finding out who is on the market. Who is selling, who is buying? What players are available? Will they waive their no-trade clause?

 No wonder we will all be glued to our computers these final two weeks!

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