Is The NHL Becoming Another NFL?



    Remember the good old days when NHL general managers were able to improve their team via the trade route which in turn would spark more interest in NHL teams and/or the league. WOW!!! what a novel concept, something that generates public and media interest in the NHL.
    In 2005, there were 18 trades involving NHL players prior to December 5th. Last year, that number dropped to 11 while during the same period this season, we have a grand total of one. Talk about a lack of movement, the fans deserve more trades during the season to maintain interest off the ice.

    When you consider the league has a “bare bones” TV presence in the US market with numerous teams struggling to fill their arenas, why not allow the trading of salaries with limitations and rules in place to regulate the amount absorbed.

    Brian Burke is spearheading a movement to allow GMs to absorb a maximum of $2 million on one player with a total limit amount of “dead money” a team could have in any one season to $4 million. Burke arranged a conference call of the 30 NHL general managers over a week ago (07/11/26) to discuss the salary trading and suspension issues. It was no coincidence Burke had set up this meeting just before last week’s board of governors meetings near Pebble Beach, California where he hoped there would be some discussion about these issues.
    Prior to the lockout, NHL GMs had a bigger say about how the league was run but that greatly changed when Gary Bettman implemented the competition committee (which Bob Gainey is a member of).
    Brian Burke has the support of most of his fellow GMs concerning the trading of salaries,

    “I’m with Burkie on this. I support his efforts,” Tampa GM Jay Feaster told “I don’t understand why it’s a problem [to make the change]. I really don’t.”

    As far as the Montreal Canadiens are concerned, I’m sure George Gillett wouldn’t be against salary trading as long as it was regulated and did not spiral out of control. Gillett has stated publicly that GM Bob Gainey can spend up to the salary cap limit (which isn’t earth shattering news since almost 75% of the league does by the end of the season) and the $4 million “dead money” yearly limit wouldn’t count against the salary cap.

    I certainly think trading salary is a good idea and would allow for more trade action especially early in the season which in turn would generate more fan and media interest in the NHL, something the league is desperately trying to accomplish every year. Unfortunately, the NHL doesn’t have the revenue, fan support or media coverage that the NFL has but it can certainly try to avoid the same lackluster and non-existence trade action that does exist in the NFL.