With the rise of social media, it’s easy for chatter to take over when it comes to the days leading up to sport trade deadlines or drafts. Insiders across the industry will rush to tweet out and scoop trades or rumors first in an effort to gain notoriety among fans.
Nowadays, these deadlines usually come and pass without nearly as many trades or moves as expected. Fans always get their hopes up just for nearly nothing to happen and the cycle repeats the next year. For both the NBA and NHL, however, 2020 felt different.
Both sports, for once, actually had active trade deadlines. Compared to the 2019 NHL trade deadline, there were 31 trades, 11 more than last season’s deadline and 13 more than the year prior. In the NBA, a number of notable players and borderline top-tier talents were moved to new teams.
Andre Drummond and D’Angelo Russell were moved to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves, respectively, on Feb. 6. The day before, the Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets engaged in a massive trade that swapped around 15 pieces, including two first round picks, Clint Capela, Robert Covington and Nene, among others.
The NBA has always been prone to major movement, but most of it comes via free agency. The trade deadline usually has a lot of chatter, but this year delivered more than usual.
The NHL was in the same boat. In terms of pure volume, it was the most active trade deadline in many years. In terms of players, too, which is equally and if not more important, it was the most impactful deadline in recent memory.
Among the names traded were Robin Lehner, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Brady Skjei, Vincent Trocheck and Sami Vatanen. In terms of hockey standards, these are substantial players to be moved in a league that usually does not see massive roster overhaul on a year-to-year basis barring extenuating circumstances.
This could have been due to the amount of parity in the league as the deadline got closer. Most teams were still in the playoff hunt, with only a handful on the definite outside looking in. As recently as just a couple of years ago, it was much more defined with a near number of teams equally at sellers and buyers. Now, many more teams are in contention and forced to make moves and bolster their rosters in order to get an upper hand. Thus, we have what we had on Monday afternoon.
Social media will always play an interesting and dynamic factor in these days. The easily accessible rumors that go around in the NHL, NBA, MLB and all other major sports leagues will make for fans expecting more than they get. As time continues, though, maybe the rhetoric will change and more years like 2020 will come.
Kevin Kopf can be reached at email@example.com. Find him on Twitter @KevinKopfHWH