In last night’s post, I briefly mentioned that I thought that moving the NHL trading deadline forward would decrease the number of upsets in the Stanley Cup Play-offs. Here’s my rationale:
The goal of mid-season trades is to improve your roster. Often, major players who are traded for prospects or lesser players. The marquee players who are acquired are often used to plug up a hole or to improve the team in general. Some trades are done with the immediate mutual benefit of both teams in mind, and these apply in my thought experiment as well.
However, hockey is a very team-0riented game. Unlike baseball and, to a lesser degree, basketball, players cannot walk right into a team and start running. There are complex systems, and the issue of chemistry (I would imagine) is much more important because you’re playing with the exact same people all the time. I have never played ice hockey myself, but I have been a (somewhat casual) fan for years. My hypothesis is based on the assumption that having more time to settle into a team would lead to the team as a whole being more likely to profit within the confines of the regular season.
I am not saying that this must happen. In fact, the Stanley Cup’s frequent upsets is not really an issue. However, there will always be the question of whether the team that raises the cup truly was the best team in the play-offs.
Of course, that’s the magic of the Stanley Cup for you.