x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Teams moving away from last gasp signings

In all, 16 trades were consummated, making it the quietest deadline in more than a decade. Last year, by comparison, a record 31 deals went down on D-Day.

What happens if the NHL trade deadline comes and goes - and not a meaningful move is made? We almost found out. The league's annual swap-a-thon was scheduled for Monday, but you would not have known it as hours went by with barely a peep.

For a while, it looked like the Rostislav Klesla- ScottieUpshall exchange between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Phoenix Coyotes was going to be the big news of the day. It did not look like a who's who of traded players.

Thankfully for fans in Los Angeles and Washington (not to mention the North American cable sports networks that devoted up to 10 hours of coverage), the Kings made a splash in prying Dustin Penner, the power forward, away from Edmonton Oilers, while the Capitals added experience in the veteran Jason Arnott.

OK, those aren't blockbusters - though the Penner deal comes close, with the Oilers obtaining a top defence prospect (Colton Teubert) and a first and second-round draft pick, but at least it gave us a talking point.

In all, 16 trades were consummated, making it the quietest deadline in more than a decade. Last year, by comparison, a record 31 deals went down on D-Day.

With many deals done before the final day, it appears general managers have realised that waiting until the last minute might not be the best way to wheel and deal. That level-headed attitude, however, means fans miss all the excitement.

Ah well … there's always next year.