The ability to negotiate cap space would encourage the NHL market at the trade deadline

WASHINGTON — The only way this NHL trade deadline could be more dramatic and entertaining is if the league and the Players Association agree to allow teams to explicitly trade cap space instead of nodding, trading legends who have long been retired long-term injury lists around the league.

Seriously, were you as shocked as I was that Shea Weber decommitted to Arizona?

Amending the collective bargaining agreement to allow pay-to-play agreements would promote and cause a veritable orgy in the marketplace. It would also increase the escrow calculation, however, which is very likely to support a starting position for an incoming executive such as PA’s Marty Walsh. The rule also likely protects large market contenders from themselves.

But it would certainly produce a lot more fun and quite a bit of added chaos in the deadline period.

I laugh at those people trying to contort themselves into anatomically impossible positions to explain why the Kings’ acquisition of Butch Goring from the Islanders in 1980 in exchange for Billy Harris and Dave Lewis isn’t the greatest deadline deal in history. NHL history.

That’s right, the Islanders had been upset the previous two playoffs largely because the team didn’t have a legitimate second-line center to back up Bryan Trottier, and after getting that center from Los Angeles, they won four straight Stanley Cups and 19 straight playoffs. rounds, but no, there was something better than this landmark trade that Bill Torrey pulled.

Buffalo Sabers' Lee Fogolin (5) and Don Luce (20) block New York Islanders' Bryan Trottier (19) as he tries to shoot the puck during first period NHL hockey action in Buffalo, New York on January 30, 1978.
The Islanders needed help for Bryan Trottier (center), their star player on the second line.

There seems to be this subsection of people dedicated to the proposition that whatever the Penguins do, they do it better than anyone else, so this group takes off the 1991 deal with Hartford, where Pittsburgh acquired Ron Francis, Wolf Samuelson and Grant Jennings for John Cullen. Zarley Zalapski and Jeff Parker top the list.

Yes, indeed, Craig Patrick’s deal is one of the best in NHL history, leading directly to the first of two straight bowls and eight consecutive playoff wins…but 2-for-4 and 8-for-19? Because obviously…Pittsburgh!

There was no free agency or salary cap at the time. Rental deals came into vogue until 1996, when the Devils leased Phil Housley from Calgary in an attempt to avoid becoming the first defending Cup champion to miss the playoffs in a quarter century. (PS: They failed.)

And the deadline was essentially dead. In the 11-year gap between Goring and Francis-Samuelson, there were perhaps three protagonists. It wasn’t like now. Blockbusters can come at any time during the season.

Jean Ratelle and Brad Park for Phil Esposito and Carol Vadnais came in early November 1975. Andy Bathgate was traded to Toronto in late February 1964. The Maple Leafs traded Frank Mahovlich to the Red Wings as part of a blockbuster in early March 1968 before from the Canadiens then in turn acquired the Big M in mid-January 1971.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Tony Esposito blocks a shot by Mike McEwen of the New York Islanders during their game in Chicago, Oct.  25, 1982.
Mike McEwen was acquired by the Islanders to help shore up the team’s defense.

In 1981, the Islanders acquired Mike McEwen from Colorado for Glenn Resch and Steve Tambellini after third-pairing defenseman Gord Lane suffered a broken thumb in the club’s previous game. Teams were swapped whenever there was a mutual need or Sam Pollock felt the need to fleece someone, whichever came first.

The last second deal was amazing. A year earlier, Resch had called for a trade after the Islanders moved longtime partner Billy Smith to the clear No. 1 role after a landmark 15-4 playoff performance in 1980, but that wasn’t his desire right now. A need arose after Lane’s injury. Feeling too for the Islanders’ first folk hero was not going to interfere with Torrey’s responsibility and mission, of course not.

That, by the way, is the special accolade for Resch, whose ongoing, long association with the Devils identifies him more generally with the New Jersey franchise for which he became his original folk hero.

Being the first hero for two franchises to win multiple Stanley Cup championships is an accomplishment to be especially proud of.

Detroit Red Wings' Dino Ciccarelli, left, reacts to the Red Wings scoring in the first period against the San Jose Sharks in game six of the Western Conference playoffs, Thursday, April 28, 1994 in Detroit.  Ciccarelli had two goals and one assist as the Red Wings defeated the Sharks 7-1 to tie the series at 3-3.
Ciccarelli journeyed through the NHL before becoming a future Hall of Famer.
AP Photo/John Discher

In 1988, the Blues acquired Brett Hull and Steve Bozek from the Flames in exchange for Rob Ramage and Rick Wamsley. Yes, essential.

Then in 1989, the Capitals sent future Hall of Famers Mike Gartner and Larry Murphy, ages 29 and 28, respectively, to Minnesota for future Hall of Famer Dino Ciccarelli, 29, and Bob Rouse, a 24-year-old defenseman who later he was an important part of Detroit’s 1998 Stanley Cup championship team.

Here’s what I remember about 1989, when I served in the dual role of VP of Communications and Devils color commentator with my friend and play-by-play man, Chris Moore, on our WABC radio broadcasts.

Yes, I recognize that it was my luck and ours not to have a watchdog like The Clicker around. I was, however, more than balanced enough for my boss, Lou Lamoriello. More than once Moore got a call from Lamoriello, where he would say, “Oh, tell Larry . . .”

Good moments.

Regardless, a year after advancing to Game 7 of the Cup semifinals on John MacLean’s game-tying and game-winning goals in the overtime finale of Game 82 in Chicago, the 1988-89 Devils were huge underdogs. Apparently unable to handle such unexpected success, the young core often looked listless and underprepared, reeling at the deadline with an 0-6-2 slide and an unrecoverable 21-32-12 overall record. Rumors were rampant. Almost all were supposedly available.

New Jersey Devils center John MacLean drives past Washington Capitals defenseman Kevin Hatcher during the second period of the game at the Capital Center in Landover, Monday, April 9, 1990.
Despite being one of the Devils’ best players, John McLean and New Jersey initially fell short.
AP Photo/Tim Shaffer

Lamoriello was then in his second year as an NHL GM. His players did not want to be traded. They didn’t want to break up the league. The Devils won two straight before the club traveled to St. Louis for a game on March 7, hours after the 1989 deadline. That would be the first of a back-to-back sweep in Chicago. Lamoriello was left behind.

And he basically stood still. There was, as I recall, a collective sigh of good luck among the players as they took the ice against the Blues.

Before the Blues scored four times in the first 10:12 of the game, as described by Moore and I.

Before I was called to the press phone at the end of St. Louis’ 4-0 first period (en route to a 6-2 final) only to be greeted by Lamoriello, demanding to know exactly what was going on and how the team could react in this way since he had kept the group together.

After a few minutes, he asked me to call him when I got back to the hotel.

I called Lamoriello when I got back to the hotel.