Saturday, February 17, 2007

Rent-A-Cup Victory?

So I've been trying to pull together some sort of post about this for about a week now, and the Forsberg trade yesterday and the subsequent talks about the Wings and who they're looking at to counter that move sealed it. Trade season is upon us (and nearly over and done with already!), teams are sorting out if they're going to be buyers or sellers at the deadline, and with that come all the terrifying rumors about our teams shipping out our favorite players to our sworn enemies and sleepless nights that come with them (what, it's only me?).

And trading is good, obviously, even if it makes us cry - it gives everyone a chance to improve their rosters, better their playoff chances or help rebuild for next year. But the thing that gets me is this concept of the playoff rental players that's coming up so often lately. Need a star center? A puck moving defenseman (I'm looking at you, Edmonton)? The new favorite solution seems to be picking up someone who's going to be a free agent next summer from a team whose playoff dreams have already been dashed, giving said team a couple prospects or draft picks that you don't need anyway because you're a Big Bad Cup Contender, and leaving that player free to sign back with their own team come summer. Sounds good for everyone, no?

But does it sort of feel like it's cheapening something? I mean sure, in a way, it's got to be nice for players like Peter Forsberg, Bill Guerin, Mats Sundin (though hey, no discounting the Leafs yet, this year! And besides, I can't see him ever agreeing to any colors that aren't blue and white.) to get chances to play for Cup contenders, the chance to play on a team that they might be able to help lead to victory. I mean who doesn't want to hoist that cup? And then of course they're benefitting their original team too - selling them off brings in new blood that can help pull the team together for a run next year.

Except what happens to that new blood that gets traded off? I mean sure, when we're considering prospects and draft picks it's not such a big deal...but how would you like to be the guy who helped your team get as far as you did only to be told this month, "Hey, we're sorry, but we're trading for this guy we think will be a huge asset to us in the playoffs - and you're actually unnecessary right now and we don't actually think we'll need you next season either, so best of luck and hope you enjoy the early vacation!" That sort of mentality just doesn't seem like what the sport is all about - those guys earned their spots on the team somehow too, and if they're going to be part of a decent trade then sure, movement is key in a sport like this, but when they're getting sold off for a rental player who agrees to help out for two months or so just to give a team some extra firepower when they need it most, something seems off.

So I don't know - as with anything there are good and bad points, and mostly I'm just curious on everyone else's opinions, so have at it!


Heather B. said...

As a fan, I hate the idea of a rent-a-player. I hate the thought of trading someone I've been watching for a long time to pick up someone who will probably be with the team for a few months. This is especially true with Buffalo's current team because most of the tradeable guys are homegrown - they were drafted by Buffalo and they've come up through our system. Those of us who pay attention to the AHL team (which isn't hard since in our case it's down the road in Rochester) have been watching all these guys for a few years now.

But if you're a GM and you really feel like this is THE year, I guess you have to go for it, even if that means a last minute deal. Now that there's a cap in place, fortunes can change very quickly. A team can be good one season, bad the next and you have to seize the moment when its good. When I take off the fan hat, and think like that, I wouldn't mind a rent-a-player, especially when we're suddenly looking at so many injuries. (One starter out for the season, two out for 4-7 weeks, one out indefinitely, and one still hopefully coming off an 8 month layoff.) Would a little depth on defense make the difference? Would one more big body up front push us over the top? Maybe. Guys like Weight and Recchi definitely helped Carolina so it can work when you bring in the right guys.

That said, if we trade Marty Biron and then win a Cup, I'm going to cry because I'll be able to think about is poor Marty watching us on TV.

BethanyM85 said...

I hate the idea of my boys going to another team. Luckily, Columbus hasn't made any drastic trades...yet. I am sure we're going to start selling off players soon. It is really hard to let guys go even if it is to better our team for seasons to come. I don't know about everyone else but I love my team and the players on that team. Anyway, as far as the rent a player thing goes if your team desperately needs something then I guess it's a good thing. But, to be that guy who is the one that has to leave the team he has been with and go somewhere else I think that's awful. Look at Scottie Upshall, he was on the best team in the NHL and suddenly he's told sorry we got Forsberg and you're gone. He got sent to the worst team in the NHL. I feel awful for him....I just hope that Nashville makes a quick exit out of the playoffs so he doesn't have to go through seeing Forsberg raise that Cup over his head and know that it could have been him.

Jocelynn said...

I have to second what you're saying here. I don't mind if the Sharks make a big move (they are playing like crap lately, they had better make a move) but I'd like it to be for someone who will stick around awhile. Of course, in my dream world they will get rid of Mark Bell, 'cause I can't stand him, but that won't happen 'cause no one's going to want him. Instead, it'll probably be one of my favorites. I'm glad the deadline was moved up. It'll all be over with faster.

Ellie said...

interesting post - i cheered soley for carolina in the cup race last year just so recchi could have a chance to win it again (cause that surely wasn't happening for him in pittsburgh last year). and then this summer i couldn't help but to laugh when pittsburgh brought him back. what goes around comes around i guess...