The 2021 NHL season has been different, to say the least, but there is at least one constant event – the trade deadline. Yet despite the normality of the annual event, this year it could be anything but.
With about a month into the season, teams quickly decide whether they are a Stanley Cup contender or a Stanley Cup contender, buying or selling depending on their response. While more than 30 trades were made before the 3 p.m. ET deadline last February, there’s a good chance the number of trades in April is not close to that level.
With teams only playing in a 7-8 tag team division – and each game being a potential four-point swing – a number of teams are on their way to making the playoffs. CEOs also need to factor in protection rosters with the upcoming expansion plan (July 21) as their capologists try to figure out how a move will impact the salary cap.
Then there are the quarantines.
There are a number of things that could influence player trading in 2021. Here’s everything you need to know before the 2021 NHL trade deadline:
When is the NHL trade deadline in 2021?
- Dated: Monday April 12
- Time: 3 p.m. ET
The NHL trade window ends at 3 p.m. ET, but the trade can be announced afterwards as long as the NHL is in the loop.
How does the salary cap affect the 2021 NHL trade deadline?
If you’re an NHL fan, you’ve heard all about this year’s $ 81.5 million fixed salary cap due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has created a hubbub for the front offices as they try to determine the night lists. According to CapFriendly, 19 teams will have less than a $ 1 million cap next season – 10 teams have no space – which has an impact on how quickly a GM pulls the trigger.
“There are so many strangers because of the cap,” New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said, according to The Associated Press’s Stephen Whyno. “The ceiling will be flat next year. So any contract you make that is over a year is going to disrupt everything you do next year and put you in a worse position. So that complicates things without the ceiling going up, but it’s the same for everyone. “
Of course, there are the yearlong rental guys, like Taylor Hall, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer; however, teams will need to ensure they have room for his remaining daily cap of $ 2,275,862 as of April 6 (by CapFriendly). But having a guy who is only signed for the rest of 2021 leaves room for the future.
“A lot of teams are in the same situation as we are where they literally have no ceiling space or very, very little – not enough to add a player without subtracting,” Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said during of his mid-season interview with journalists. “The teams that are a bit on the bubble, I don’t know how what will ultimately guide their decisions. Will they try to add? Will they sell? Will there be more teams left standing? I don’t know, but it will be interesting to find out.
And then there are a few teams, such as the Flames, who have raised money – $ 416,000, according to Flames Nation’s Ryan Pike – by sending guys and calling them back from the taxi team.
Will the quarantine rules affect exchanges?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, players are required to self-quarantine for a number of days after traveling to their new city.
In the United States, the number of days is on a state-by-state basis. Brendan Lemieux, who was sent west from the Rangers to the Kings on March 27, was on the NHL’s COVID protocol list from March 29 to April 4 and was able to train with his new team for the first time on Monday. .
Missing a new guy for a few days isn’t that big of a deal, but a cross-border – or even provincial – exchange is a bit more of a problem. All players who are sent north to one of Canada’s seven teams must undergo a federally mandated quarantine for seven days. (It was 14 days, but was recently shortened to seven).
In addition, any player sent from one province to another and it is not a short drive (for example, Jimmy Vesey’s ride from Toronto to Ottawa when he was taken out of waivers by the Canucks) will have to be quarantined (eg, Travis Boyd, who was also a Vancouver waiver pickup).
This creates a bigger impact on a roster than it does on American teams. Plus, let’s not forget that you’re trading with guys that you compete with, for at least a season, for a playoff spot.
What are the main targets at the NHL trade deadline?
The main business goals seem to change daily as teams are added to the win-loss column. For now, two guys are determined to be sent to pack their bags from their current location: Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri. Both have been healthy – Hall for the Sabers game on April 6 (to start) and Palmieri, who hasn’t played since April 2.
There have been rumors north of the border that Sam Bennett, Derek Ryan and goalie David Rittich could be sent off from Calgary. Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said in mid-March that he was ready to trade a better prospect to acquire a player who could boost his team’s chances at the 2021 Stanley Cup.
TSN’s Trade Bait table is littered with guys who will be UFAs – including top defenseman David Savard, who currently plays for the Blue Jackets. Needless to say, rental companies could be the primary focus for a number of teams.