As another Hockey Christmas approaches (tomorrow! Holy crap!), many hockey fans are trying to figure out what Hockey Santa will be bringing them. Some fans will get bright, shiny rental players full of promise and others will get young, project players and draft pick full of gambling goodness. Here is a handy guide for how to decide what kind of Christmas you will have.
Hard-core Sellers: Your team has been out of playoff race since November. You have had visions of John Tavares dancing in your head all season. However, the thing to help you best recognize a hard-core selling team is a high profile player who is eligible for free agency over the summer. These teams are usually several players away from being back at the top of the league and are "happy" to take draft picks, cash, and minor league or lower-tier players. Examples: Ottawa, NY Islanders, Atlanta, Tampa Bay
Causal Sellers: The biggest similarity between these teams and hard-core sellers is that both usually have a high profile player who is a free agent over the summer. Causal sellers are usually a few points out of the playoffs and looking at a mid-level draft pick. These teams are often just a player or two away from making the playoffs again. However, the one significant thing that makes these teams casual sellers is that confidence that they are close to the playoffs. These teams are less likely to make crazy trades and will more often say no to a trade that isn't just right for their team philosophy. Examples: LA, Toronto, Buffalo, St. Louis
Causal Buyers: These are the teams that are least likely to make a splashy deal before the deadline. Causal buyers are going to the playoffs for sure and are just trying to improve (or maintain) their position in the standings. With these teams, you will hear phrases like "team chemistry" and "confident in our line up." Often times these teams get bit hard by trying to pick up that one rental player to take the team to the promise land (See: Brian Campbell, Marian Hossa, Bill Guerin). Expect these teams to deal their draft picks more often as they anticipate later picks in the rounds. Examples: San Jose, New Jersey, Detroit, Boston
Hard-core buyers: These teams are in considerable need of those rental players. They are in the playoffs but fighting to stay in each and every game. These teams might be susceptible to making risky deals in an effort to go farther in the playoffs. Sometimes the risk pay off and sometimes they are Bill Guerin. These teams are likely to make multiple moves with multiple teams and often package draft picks with unproven, but promising young talent. Examples: Vancouver, Montreal, NY Rangers, Edmonton
Check out Puck Daddy's list of 30 players who might get dealt before the end of the day tomorrow for more trade info. And come back tomorrow night for our recap on what when down the hockey trade deadline Christmas.