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“Hearing Your Name in the Rumour Mill Year After Year Just Plain Sucks!” – Chris Pronger

Graphic courtesy of Sportsnet

“Hearing Your Name in the Rumour Mill Year After Year Just Plain Sucks!” – Chris Pronger

Another week, another all-encompassing, tell-all Twitter thread from former NHL all-star defenceman and current financial entrepreneur Chris Pronger.

This time, with Friday’s NHL trade deadline fast approaching, the topic was that of trades as a player who has experienced his fair share of deals over the years.

The bulk of Pronger’s message is listed below:


“The trade deadline can be an exciting time of year for fans of certain teams and not so much for others.  Why you ask?

One is a buyer and the other is a seller.  Typically, when you are a seller, your team is rebuilding and trying to shed salary and acquire assets, mainly draft picks and/or prospects.

As time has gone on and the league has evolved with the salary cap, players tend to know when their time is up in a city and change is coming.  While I was never traded at the deadline, I did know I was being shopped prior to my trade out of Anaheim in 2009.

Agents are dialed into the GM’s league wide and have a good pulse on what is going inside the league.  I was either gone at the deadline or at the draft.

In my case, it was a way for then GM, Bob Murray, to get a feel for the interest level and what he should set the price at.

Thus, not all rumored deals happen at the deadline.  They can be discussed and executed in the summer when there is more cap space or potentially involve more suitors for the player to drive the price higher.

How do players on winning teams feel about the deadline?  I get asked this question a lot and the answer will vary but for the most part you want your team involved and interested.  It is a way to show your players that you believe they can win!

One of the best non-moves ever was when I was in Philly and Paul Holmgren had a team meeting a week before the trade deadline.  As we all know the Philadelphia media can push a narrative like no other.  Rumors turn into reality as far as they are concerned.

We had a few great meetings like this with Homer. In this case he basically told the team that “we were his guys” and nobody was being dealt.  HE BELIEVED IN OUR GROUP!  He made one significant move in acquiring Ville Leino early in February but that was the extent of it.

Moments like those give a team courage and confidence to go play and leave it all out on the ice!  We were 2 wins away from that moment being remembered forever!  OK Chicagoans say what you will now.

I have also been on the other side where you are hoping to add one of the top players that are being shopped.  All teams have a window to win.

When your GM is not aggressive and seems to be outbid on every deal we all know what that means. Does he believe or is he hedging?

Other times it is a blessing.  Our 2006-2007 team in Anaheim is one such team.  We had great chemistry and our team gelled perfectly with skill and toughness.

This was the year that Bill Guerin, Keith Tkachuk, Ryan Smyth and Peter Forsberg were all traded at the deadline.

Knowing our GM, Brian Burke, as well as I do, I was positive he was going to be aggressive with that cast of characters potentially being available.

Chemistry is a hard trait to mess with though.

A couple days prior to the deadline he traded Shane O’Brien for a 1st round pick to Tampa.  This move would give him some extra trade capital should he get involved in one of these potential deals knowing at least a 1st rd pick would be needed plus more as we would find out.

In the end we acquired gritty winger Brad May, who played a huge role on our 4th line throughout the playoffs.  I think in the end the disruption to our lines and the chemistry being altered  in our locker room was too much of a risk for Burkie.

Luckily, we won and made him look like genius in the process.  This was by far my favorite team to play with no question.  We could beat you 2-1 or 6-5. We could play the finesse game or the physical game.

Do players hold a grudge or get upset about hearing rumors?  Two sides to every story but I would say most realize the business side of the game but hearing your name in the rumor mill year after year just plain sucks!

Do players pitch their friends to the Coach and GM.  100% they do.  Happens all the time.  Does something come from that?  Not usually.  As we are seeing, trades are incredibly complicated within a salary cap system.

Teams that are in their Cup window like Tampa can make trades for players that the outside world thinks are ludicrous.

Then we come to find out they fit into the cap structure they have set and with superstars under cap friendly deals they can continue in the window longer than most thought feasible.  i.e. Brandon Hagel last year.

So many things can happen at the trade deadline.  As we always hear after the fact, some of the best trades are the ones you don’t make.  I can speak to this statement.

And now lastly do players choose where they get traded?   Yes and no.  Patrick Kane for example has earned the right via his NMC to pick if and where he gets traded.

In this case it seems the NYR are his desired team, but circumstances (salary cap constraints) can be an issue.  But he is holding all the cards.  Either they facilitate this trade or he stays and they get nothing when eh signs elsewhere next year

He has gone from being the 1st overall pick and was a driving force in their resurgence (3 Cup wins) and now sadly seeing the team back where they were when he was drafted!

Time will tell what your favorite team does at the deadline.  Hopefully this has sparked more questions and some intriguing thoughts as you see the next few days unfold with the trade deadline.

If the last couple years are the new baseline, then the larger deals have already been completed.”


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