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Friday FTB: March to the trade deadline

Come on, that’s a really good pun.

Buffalo Sabres v Toronto Maple Leafs
Those were the minutes, my friend. The part of that game where Rielly and Sandin didn’t suck.
Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

The NHL trade deadline in Monday, March 21. This is likely news to all of you because no one has been talking about trading very much.

Today, since it’s Friday, I’m going to give you the shortest possible version of the rules around the deadline itself.

To play in the NHL playoffs for the Maple Leafs, you must be on the NHL roster of the Maple Leafs at 3 p.m. on deadline day. The only exception to this is players on the reserve list of the team, who are playing in another league. Pontus Holmberg can join when his playoffs in Sweden is over, for example, and a player like Roni Hirvonen could be signed and join the team. But a traded player has to be on the roster by that time.

This means NHL-contracted AHL players who are not on the Leafs roster on that day, cannot join for the playoffs if needed. For example, if Joey Anderson hasn’t been recalled to join the Leafs, he’s not eligible.

To make that possible, the 23-man roster limit disappears at midnight on the morning of the deadline. However, the salary cap does not. The Leafs have a lot of LTIR room they can use to “paper up” some AHLers and paper them back down at 3:01.

Recalls from the AHL are restricted until the Marlies playoffs are over. Then any number can join the Leafs. The workaround is to use the emergency recall rules.

To play in the Marlies playoffs, a player must be on the Marlies roster before 3 p.m. For example, if the Leafs wanted to make Nick Robertson eligible for either the AHL or NHL playoffs depending on need, they would need to send him to the AHL before the deadline (minutes, days, weeks, it’s all the same) and then recall him just before 3 p.m. so he meets the criteria for both teams.

The salary cap is in effect until the end of the regular season.

Remember that acquiring a player on deadline day who is going to use LTIR room to fit under the cap is a dollar-for-dollar transaction. For example, the idea the Muzzin will still be on LTIR then and therefore the Leafs can ad Mark Giordano costs the Leafs $6.75 million in LTIR space (which is more than would exist {knock wood}).

If there is some cap space to use, then the new player using that space comes in at his cap hit prorated by the days remaining in the NHL year. For example, if you trade Justin Holl for Adam Larsson, his $5 million in cap hit (for this year) would easily fit in that space. (I’m being vague because this year is a weird number of days and I can’t find the number.)

Because the Leafs are in a position to move out excess players and we don’t know when Jake Muzzin will return, calculating their “space” is a fool’s game. They will make what space they need to make if a good deal comes along.

Now that you know you can make up fantasy trades about everyone, you can just go to it, assuming every team will trade any player just because.

If you want to talk real trade rumours, try to do more than just read the tweet or the headline. I get a little tired of listening to boring podcasts at this time of the year to discover if that paraphrased tweet is out of context or not.

One thing that annoys me a little is the assumption that because someone reported that the Leafs called a team about a guy, and they don’t get that guy, that the reporter made it up. Reporters don’t make things up. Twitter rumour accounts do.

But imagine you’re selling your house. So, pretend you don’t live in Toronto, and you have a house. What’s the first thing you’ll do? You’ll see what other houses are selling for, you’ll look at listings and you might even go to some open houses to see where your house, or the house you want to buy, fits in the market. Calling another GM about a player can absolutely be market research.

Now onto some recent news:

And if anything else happened in the hockey world that seems interesting, I’m counting on you to tell me.

Try to have a good Friday, everyone.