Take Town: See ya in the car
I think in the past year or three we've seen more people wonder aloud about how prevalent it's going to become for youngish players to force their way out of teams or situations they aren't happy with.
Based on the results of these playoffs, I bet that trend is gonna go from a trickle — Jack Eichel, Matthew Tkachuk, even Mark Stone — to a deluge. All those players found teams willing to upset several apple carts to acquire them and found more or less immediate success. Now Alex DeBrincat and Pierre-Luc Dubois, among others, look like they're gonna follow suit. And with the salary cap about to explode, why wouldn't more players follow them?
I kinda doubt it's ever going to get to the point it's at in the NBA, where teams will basically trade three-quarters of their roster to get elite players. That's in part because truly elite players are rarely allowed to get particularly close to free agency, and also because the impact of elite players in the NHL is much less than it is in the NBA, and also because the NBA doesn't have a hard salary cap and allows for luxury taxes and things like that.
But I dunno, if we get even slightly more of a trend toward this kind of behaviour — with the acknowledgement that a lot of young players genuinely like the organizations they end up with and would be happy to spend a decade plus there — that's probably good for the league. It generates fan and media interest, keeps the flow of talent from one team to the other moving at a steady pace, and forces general managers to actually get creative. Most importantly, it avoids keeping players in employment situations they aren't happy with.
As I said the other day, the Vegas Golden Knights and Florida Panthers are blazing a new trail in team-building during the salary cap era.
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