Smaller midseason deals matter in NHL
The trade of defenseman Johnny Oduya to Chicago last season is just one example of how small midseason trades can pay major dividends in the NHL.
The first conversation with his former assistant general manager regarding a trade happened about six weeks before the trade deadline. Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman chatted with Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, who made it clear that if the playoffs didn't look like a realistic option, then his potential unrestricted free agents would be available at the trade deadline.
The two stayed in touch and the phone conversations became more frequent as the deadline neared. Bowman estimates that on Feb. 27 of last year, the day of the trade deadline, he spoke with the Jets at least 10 times. He had homed in on one player he just had to have at the trade deadline: defenseman Johnny Oduya.
Cheveldayoff wanted the trade to be built around draft picks, while Bowman preferred to include a prospect so he could save his picks. It's a smart move when you have a talented guy like Chicago's director of amateur scouting, Mark Kelley, helping to run your draft.
But there was other interest in Oduya, and Cheveldayoff wouldn't budge. So Bowman sent second- and third-round picks in the talented 2013 draft to the Jets for the veteran defenseman. Bowman got his man.
It's the best trade in the past year.
To read more from Craig Custance and get access to all of Insider's NHL content, sign up today.