Sporting Charts

NHL Trade Deadline Day By The Numbers

Like most holidays the NHL Trade Deadline comes only once a year and often with more hype and anticipation that it deserves (at least in Canada). 

Like a little kid wishing to get that perfect gift for Christmas, so are the thoughts of many hockey fans as they hope and pray that their team will get the perfect player to put them “over the top” and make a long run in the playoffs. 

Much like Christmas when our TV's are filled with fake Santa Clauses, Grinches and Charlie Brown, we find countless shows about the latest rumour on which player may or may not be “on the block” at the trade deadline.

So does the deadline ever actually deliver on all the hype?  Let’s take a look at every season since the 2001-02 season and see if there is enough evidence to back up the hype.

How Many Trades Are Made On Trade Deadline Day On Average?

Over the past 11 seasons (2001-02 to 2012-13) there have been a total of 238 trades made on deadline day. Of those trades, 441 players and 196 draft picks were involved. That’s almost a 2.2:1 ratio of players to draft picks.

The largest number of trades happened in 2010 when 31 were made. The two years with the lowest occured in 2011 and 2012 combined for 32 trades to match 2010.

Here’s how the past 12 seasons breakdown:

Season

Deadline Trades

Players

Draft Picks

2001-02

17

35

14

2002-03

24

46

20

2003-04

20

32

7

2005-06

25

40

25

2006-07

25

44

27

2007-08

25

45

20

2008-09

22

48

21

2009-10

31

55

25

2010-11

16

35

12

2011-12

16

31

11

2012-13

17

30

14

2013-14

18

32

23

 

 

 

 

Totals

256

473

219

Averages

21.3

39.4

18.3


Not all trades happen on the day of the deadline. Much like the Jarome Iginla trade to Pittsburgh during the 2012-13 season, trades will often occur within a week prior to the deadline. If we include those trades into the total it looks like this.

Season

At Deadline

Within One Week Prior To Deadline

Total Trades

 

Amount

Percentage

Amount

Percentage

 

2001-02

17

59%

12

41%

29

2002-03

24

77%

7

23%

31

2003-04

20

48%

22

52%

42

2005-06

25

81%

6

19%

31

2006-07

25

63%

15

38%

40

2007-08

25

83%

5

17%

30

2008-09

22

88%

3

12%

25

2009-10

31

70%

13

30%

44

2010-11

16

70%

7

30%

23

2011-12

16

62%

10

38%

26

2012-13

17

50%

17

50%

34

2013-14

18

58%

13

42%

31

 

 

 

 

 

 

Totals

256

 

130

 

386

Averages

21.3

66%

10.8

34%

32.2


Of the 195 draft picks traded over the past 11 seasons only 14 of them have been 1st round picks. The tendency of most GM’s is to give up a 2nd, 3rd or 4th rounder to get that key player for the stretch run and not trade away a coveted 1st rounder, especially if the player is a “rental” and may not re-sign with the team.

Here is a draft picks breakdown.

Season

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th +

Cond.

Future

Total

2001-02

2

2

2

3

3

1

0

1

1

14

2002-03

1

5

1

4

2

2

2

3

2

20

2003-04

0

0

2

2

0

1

2

0

3

7

2005-06

1

9

5

5

2

1

1

1

0

25

2006-07

4

5

6

3

4

2

2

1

0

27

2007-08

2

3

1

3

2

2

4

3

1

19

2008-09

1

9

2

6

2

1

0

0

0

21

2009-10

0

5

4

4

1

5

5

1

0

25

2010-11

1

2

5

0

1

0

3

0

0

12

2011-12

1

2

1

3

2

0

2

0

0

11

2012-13

1

1

2

4

1

1

1

3

2

14

2013-14

1

6

5

0

4

0

0

7

1

23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Totals

15

49

36

37

24

16

22

20

10

218

Averages

1.3

4.1

3.0

3.1

2.0

1.3

1.8

1.7

0.8

18.2


It’s interesting to note that trading for “future considerations” seems to be a thing of the past as there has only been three trades involving this type of asset since 2005.

So we now know how often a player and draft pick are involved in a deadline deal, but which teams are most likely to pull the trigger before the clock runs out.  Let’s take a look.

Which NHL Teams Are Most Active At The NHL Trade Deadline?

In looking at the past 12 NHL trade deadline days, we calculated the total number of times each team was involved in a trade.

Team Trades
Phoenix Coyotes 30
Anaheim Ducks 29
Pittsburgh Penguins 25
Columbus Blue Jackets 23
Vancouver Canucks 21
New York Rangers 21
Boston Bruins 20
Florida Panthers 20
Washington Capitals 19
Buffalo Sabres 19
Calgary Flames 18
Tampa Bay Lightning 18
Chicago Blackhawks 17
Toronto Maple Leafs 17
Colorado Avalanche 17
Los Angeles Kings
17
San Jose Sharks 17
Edmonton Oilers 16
Winnipeg Jets 15
St. Louis Blues 15
Nashville Predators
15
New York Islanders 14
Carolina Hurricanes 13
Minnesota Wild 13
New Jersey Devils 11
Ottawa Senators 11
Detroit Red Wings 10
Philadelphia Flyers 10
Montreal Canadiens 10
Dallas Stars 6
       
Average 16.9
Average per team per year 1.4


As we can see, some teams have a propensity to making that last minute deal to improve their team for the short or long term. Phoenix and Anaheim are almost always making deals while Dallas prefers to keep it low key and only make a deal if necessary. On average, each team makes around 1.5 trades per deadline.

So is the trade deadline hype really justified? Not really. It’s still fun and interesting; just keep your expectations low in case you open your trade deadline present and find a pair of socks instead of that new toy you’ve been dreaming about.



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