NHL deals: What GM said
Don Waddell once traded a good friend.
It was March 2002 and his lowly Atlanta Thrashers were last in the NHL standings with a meager 46 points from 70 games.
The Louis Blues are looking to bolster their squad ahead of the knockout stages and target Waddell captain – 37-year-old striker Ray Ferraro.
Making that deal wasn’t easy for Atlanta’s CEO. It is also necessary.
“You have to trade your heart (you believe) helping your hockey team,” said Waddell, now the GM of the Carolina Hurricanes, more than two decades later. “You never make a trade to hurt anyone.
“It doesn’t matter who you’re dealing with. If you really believe it’s going to make your hockey club better, then you have to do it.”
With this year’s NHL deal deadline now in the rearview mirror, after two tumultuous weeks that involved several big names swapping jerseys ahead of one last-ditch action against the climate, GMs now have can breathe a sigh of relief.
So what does it feel like when a transaction — especially a large one — has finally been confirmed, the paperwork has been filed and the players on the move have been notified?
Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has been one of the league’s busiest ahead of schedule this year, remaking a quarter of its roster through trade, including the acquisition of Ryan O’Reilly from St. . Louis Blues, when the franchise finally looked to break through in the knockout stages.
“A bit of relief when it’s all over,” Dubas said. “There were times when I was an assistant GM and now – this is my ninth year doing this – where you have a little bit of apprehension that things may or may not cross.
“It’s not a good feeling.”
Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said that until the end of the annual deadline, there isn’t much time for reflection.
“You feel like, ‘Okay, what’s next?”‘ he said. “It can be a crazy time.”
The Ottawa senator made one of the bigger surprises by acquiring coveted guard Jakob Chychrun from the Arizona Coyotes.
“A lot of handshakes – we did something good for the organization,” GM Senator Pierre Dorion said of the immediate consequences to his management team. “You know you’re a player who will help you.”
He added the weeks ahead of time as the calendar moves into the final stages of the schedule is every manager’s favorite part of the job.
“A lot of times, people don’t realize we don’t play hockey,” said Dorion of the GM workload. “We’re doing a lot of other things like administration, budgeting, scheduling meetings.
“One of the happiest days of the year, especially when you’re a buyer.”
However, Waddell added that it can also be an emotional time.
“There are some very difficult conversations,” he said. “There are sleepless nights knowing that you will have to talk to a player about leaving his family, moving to a new city.
“It’s right for the job and you work hard, but you know you’re doing the right thing for the organization.”
And there’s a sense of accomplishment — at least for a few minutes.
“As soon as you get something done, it turns into anxiety about how it all fits together and works,” says Dubas. “Then you can deal with that.
“It never really ends.”
Oilers captain Connor McDavid continues to raise the bar with killer effectiveness.
Edmonton’s prodigious talent set a career-high scoring record (124) in just his 65th game of the season on Monday, along with 54 of the best career goals he’s scored. recordable.
McDavid is on track to pick up 156 points between 2022-23, which would be the highest number in a single campaign in league history by a player without the name Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux.
The superstar recently overcame The Great One on another stats page by scoring his 58th strength, surpassing Gretzky for the highest single-season total in Oilers history.
Speaking of beating expectations, McDavid and the Oilers will get a second look at the league’s best Bruins in two weeks on Thursday.
Boston, which has won 10 games in a row, enters with a 49-8-5 record – good for a 136-point pace.
That total would push these Bruins past the 132 points earned by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadaiens in an 80-game season excluding extra time or penalties.
Calgary is struggling to reach the knockout stages after winning the Pacific Division with 111 points in the 2021-22 season.
However, The Flames showed a bit of vitality this week.
Calgary arrived in Dallas on Monday with just 0-3-2 in the last five and 3-6-4 against the previous 13, but won 5-4 against the Stars before winning the series. Tuesday’s penalty shootout 1-0. the Minnesota wilderness.
Going into Wednesday, the Flames are four points behind the Winnipeg Jets, who have a game in their hands, to claim the Western Conference’s second wildcard spot.
-With files from Gemma Karstens-Smith, Judy Owen and Lisa Wallace.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 8, 2023.