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Wednesday, January 7, 2015


People who know me in hockey circles, or who follow my Twitter feed (Cheap Plug:  @SteveClarkMedia) know that I am hardily a fan of the OHL Trade Deadlines, and in particularly these lurking on the fringes so called "Insiders" who love to fire out a number of unsubstantiated claims, or rumours and then quick to bellow "I had it first" to the social media work.   On some level I understand the need in the industry to have the scoop, or to have a good reliable network of sources, but does it really matter if so and so had the trade nailed 10 seconds before another guy in the grand scheme of things?   Not really, but as I said, it is the nature of the social media beast that is Twitter. 

The other thing I do not like about the trade deadline is the physical deadline itself.   The CHL does a wonderful job of protecting our World Juniors by banning any trading of them during the tournament. This rule was put in place as poor Steve Mason was away wearing our countries colours while London and Kitchener were finalzing a trade that would see him be shipped to Kitchener for their Memorial Cup run.  It was not exactly the distraction Mason needed and it was a good thing he was only going from London to Kitchener, a relatively short distance geographically.   The next year, even with the new rule,  it was John Tavares proudly sporting Canada red fully aware that his team colours were rumoured to be  changed from Oshawa General Red, White and Blue to London Knights Green and Gold.At least the rule was in place and nothing was completed until after the tournament.

The CHL could go the extra step and protect all high school age players by not having players traded so close to exams.  Many high school exams in Ontario are the 2nd or 3rd week in January and then there is a Semester turnaround time.   Seeing as the CHL likes calling their athletes Amateur Student Athletes, to me, it would be nice to move the trade deadline back or making a trade conditional that the player report to his traded team AFTER exams are done.  No use in playing for those extra years of post secondary education if you are bombing exams because you just got traded!For those taking post-secondary courses, the trade deadline should be in line with college/university semester turnarounds of ends of courses as best as logistically possible   As the OHL promotes itself almost as a miniature version of the NHL, nothing will likely get changed about the trade deadline but they should. 

While I am really laying into the spectre of the trade deadline, don't you think it is time for a cap on what draft picks you can trade.  I saw a trade that saw Nitchie get traded to Sault St Marie a 2020 draft pick change hands.  Somewhere right now there is an 11 year old who has actually traded! As I said in a tweet, an 11 year old just got traded and was told to turn off his X Box and go to sleep.   Maybe two years in advance of the actual draft would be fair, but five?   That, to me, is a tad ridiculous.  Thinking really outside of the box it would be nice to see OHL teams somehow rewarded for keeping players for 4 or 5 years, maybe in the form of compensatory draft picks, or a supplemental draft of some sort.  Any sort of reward will do really.   Might make teams think less about trading players.  That, I know, is so far out of the box, it can't really see the box. 

Do not get wrong, I am not so down on the trade deadline that I'd like to see a moratorium on trades.  Quite the contrary as a matter of fact.   The buzz created does help market the league and the team . A league in which the teams go in cycles necessitates the trading of players. I talk to trusted sources in the league to get a sense of where a team wants to be a buyer or a seller, or who is on the move.  I love me a good block buster and when teams add assets.  I just think that the whole process could be changed to benefit the amateur student athletes who are seen as commodities rather than student aged athletes.   

Steve Clark (Insider status:   normally the 15th to break a trade, after it has been officially confirmed by the league)

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