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Here’s How to Make the NHL Trade Deadline Interesting

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The NHL Trade Deadline is usually the same thing every year, and does not always make for good television. Here’s how to change that.

NHL: Ottawa Senators Press Conference
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL trade deadline is just two days away, and there have only been two “big” moves with Ben Bishop to Los Angeles and Martin Hanzal to Minnesota. Usually most of the trades happen in the final hours before the deadline, but it’s always awkward on the morning of the deadline while there has been no action whatsoever.

TSN and Sportsnet have to fill hours of television from 5am eastern time all the way until some time after the 3pm deadline, which is not easy to do as James Duthie will tell you. That is a lot of TV, especially when there isn’t a whole lot happening:

So how can the NHL make the deadline the most interesting out of any major sports league?

Simple. Make it into an event where all GMs, assistant GMs, scouts, etc. around the league gather into one arena to create chaos.

I’m not going to lie, this is 100% not my original idea. If you listen to Jeff Marek on the Marek vs. Wyshynski podcast or at any other place he’s made an appearance at, he brings this idea up a lot. I’m not entirely sure if it is his original idea, because I believe I remember him saying that somebody else had told him about it. Nevertheless, I am giving Marek credit for this incredible plan.

So how would this work, exactly?

At the NHL Draft, they will take out the ice and set up tables for each team on the ground floor, and there are hundreds of front office members there. The trade deadline could be the same idea where a different arena is chosen every year to host everyone in the same spot.

Furthermore, there would be no games played that day, so every person from management could be there, and the sole focus of the day would be potential trades. The best part about this is that coverage on TSN and Sportsnet could be similar, but they would have all front office members behind the panel of analysts, placing them right in the middle of the action.

2008 NHL Draft Drawing
Instead of this studio background, the arena full of tables with front office people could be the background (This was the best photo I could find in the database, don’t laugh)
Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images for the NHL

TSN and Sportsnet would still be able to give their usual analysis, but every so often the camera could zoom in on two General Managers having an intense discussion about a potential trade.

By having this format, every person in an NHL front office is within a 30 second walk of each other, and I guarantee more trades would get done. At the draft it seems like there are plenty of last minute deals, and a lot of the time that is because GMs can talk face to face. The trade deadline could be similar and it would be amazing.

Not only would this produce a few more trades, the TV production would be so much better than it is now. Trade deadline coverage is the same thing every year, and I think people want to see something different (at least I do). Ratings for trade deadline coverage would assuredly go way up, and TSN and Sportsnet would be able to get creative with their content.

For example, although GMs are working frantically until the deadline comes around, perhaps someone in lower management would be able to give a short interview giving an update about a potential trade or what they are trying to do.

I’m sure there are plenty of other neat ideas that would come about, but the main reason I like this idea is because it is different.

It would produce some excitement, as well as more trades. I don’t think something like this will ever happen, but it would make for some must-watch TV. Plus, if the NHL did it first, they would most likely be copied by other leagues and praised for the idea.

Fans get better entertainment, GMs get more last minute trades, TV companies get more viewers, and players get a day off.

Make it happen, Gary Bettman. There is absolutely no downside to this for anyone.

What do you think about this idea?