Don't Trade for Expensive Rentals!

By Maukkis · Feb 10, 2019 · Updated Feb 10, 2019
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  1. Maukkis

    Maukkis EZ4ENCE

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    The TDL is approaching, and all the trade discussion seems to revolve around mortgaging a team's future for rentals. Myself, I don't agree one bit with this approach; it is evident that buying at TDL is a prime example of the practice of buying high, and often times you won't get much bang for your buck.

    Below is a list of all the 'expensive' trade deadline rentals from 2015 to this date (this cutoff is based on my own knowledge of these trades; I don't want to review deals which I don't understand sufficiently). For the purposes of this post, I consider all trades in which either a first round pick or a notably good prospect switched owners to be expensive. There is room for subjectivity, but where isn't there? The main criteria for evaluation are: asset cost, player's performance for the new club, team success during a playoff run, and long-term impact of the player. I would like to clarify that this does not include deals such as the McDonagh, Yandle, or Brassard deals, because those players had term left. That would skew the evaluation too much in their favour, seeing as they would already have long-term impact on the others.

    Based on my parameters, I was able to identify 15 'expensive' rental acquisitions from the past four TDLs.

    17-18

    Tatar for 1st+2nd+3rd

    Isn't it wonderful to start with a trade which already contradicts the parameters you just put into place? This makes the list for the sole reason of Tatar being traded right after the playoff run, which technically makes him a rental..? And boy, was the trade a downright joke for the Knights. Tatar barely played for the team that eventually made the finals. Scoring just eight points in 28 combined games for Vegas, he was already pawned off to Montreal after a couple of months. Giving up three high-to-mid picks for a guy who did not contribute and who had no long-term impact on your roster is horrific, and even the trip to the SCF does not outweigh the bad.

    Verdict: fail. Nothing to discuss here, aside from the comparisons of Pacioretty and Tatar with their new teams.

    E. Kane for O´Regan+cond.2nd+4th

    As opposed to most players who make this list, the asset cost here was relatively low. We obviously know that the condition of the trade was met and the second turned into a first, but for a rental Kane, that return still seemed solid for the Sharks. And damn - 13 goals in 26 games makes him one of the more successful ones on the list. However, his playoffs weren't superb (but not bad either, by any means), and neither were the Sharks', so that brings the overall score down by a bit. The Sharks, however, made up for it by re-signing him. Even if the price of acquisition went up, Kane is putting up points at a great rate now, and will continue to do so for likely a couple of other playoff runs.

    Verdict: pass. Good price, decent production, and great long-term deal make this an easy win for the Sharks.

    Stastny for 1st+Foley

    Stastny was not supposed to be rental - at least nobody thought the Blues would ship him - and yet it was Winnipeg who dangled him to make an already stacked forward lineup even more stacked. The asset cost is obviously high; a first and a good prospect should get you quality. And that is what Stastny brought to Winnipeg. 28 points in 36 games, including 10 against Nashville in one playoff round, makes him one of the best rentals in recent memory. Winnipeg saw some success as a team, making it all the way to the WCF, but ultimately fell short. A massive minus comes from him bolting to UFA.

    Verdict: pass, but only barely. It is generally understood by most Jets fans that Stastny gave us the series win against Nashville, which eases the pain of the high asset cost and the non-existent long-standing impact. As an avid hater of rentals, I still have to acknowledge how incredibly well Stastny worked out for us on the ice, but I'm not ignoring the bad either. This is incredibly close, and any kind of change for the better or the worse would likely tip the scales.

    Hartman+5th for Ejdsell+1st+4th

    One of the worst deals in terms of how much was paid and for what. A young bottom sixer, Hartman's track record didn't suggest that this kind of price should have been paid for him. What's more, his production rate didn't change in Nashville either, and his playoff run was cut short by the Jets. Nashville gets bonus points for keeping him (granted that he was a RFA), but given the high cost and minimal on-ice impact he has had for his entire career, you'd have a hard time spinning this one into a win.

    Verdict: fail. If you want a bottom sixer that bad, use your draft picks on big guys and have an endless supply of Hartmans.

    Nash for Spooner+Beleskey+Lindgren+1st+7th

    A little tougher one to evaluate due to the cap dump that took place as part of the deal. At the time, Nash's production had already fallen off, but he still offered middle six quality to Boston. The problem is, when you're giving up a high cost in terms of futures AND THEN give up Spooner who had put up points at a higher rate than Nash, the trade looks a lot less ideal. Boston didn't make it far either, and Nash's contributions were about in line with his regular season numbers. To top it all off, his retirement effectively left the Bruins empty-handed in the end.

    Verdict: fail. Pretty much the exact opposite of the Kane deal: too high a price to pay for too little, and nothing to show for it now.

    (borderline: Grabner for 2nd+Rykov)


    Decided to include this one too - because of the stuff I have heard about Rykov as a prospect - but it should be acknowledged that this is a borderline case for an expensive rental. As a reward for the young team for a great season, the Devils added speed to what was already a lightning quick team. For two decent future assets, they received exactly zero playoff points, got bounced in the first round, and then the rental left in the summer. Worth it?

    Verdict: fail. Whoever is likely to go against Tampa this April should take notes.


    16-17


    Hansen for Goldobin+cond. 4th

    Hansen was brought in as a good bottom sixer. In exchange, the Sharks decided to give up one of their better prospects instead of a high pick. After a decent March with the Sharks, everything went south: one point in six playoff games (and a first round exit for the team, which is a big minus), and after that, he has been a no-show and is currently out of the league. It should probably be noted that Hansen did have term left, but since he fell out of favour rather quickly during his second year as a Shark, this probably qualifies.

    Verdict: fail. From the very moment of this trade happening, Goldobin has pretty much outproduced Hansen anyway.

    Shattenkirk+Copley for 1st+Sanford+Malone+cond. 2nd

    Exhibit A of 'trading for the sake of making a trade.' Shattenkirk was the top rental of 2017, and Washington took a stab at it and added a top defenseman to what was already a powerhouse team. According to some, this also prevented their main rivals from getting Shattenkirk themselves...? Anyway, while Shattenkirk put up points at a good rate for his time in Washington, a lot of people were not content with the acquisition, and it was even said that he straight up did not fit the system of the team. The Caps ended up losing in round 2 of the playoffs. The asset cost was below average for a top rental (no high-end prospects to go with the first rounder, which is a plus), but since Shattenkirk bolted immediately after the playoff run, it is hard to be content with the deal.

    Verdict: fail. At least they redeemed themselves the next year, though.

    Hanzal+White for 1st+2nd+Downing+cond. 4th

    God, is this a bad one. Two high picks should probably net you more than two bottom six rentals. Minnesota's great season lasted up to the point of this trade, after which everything went downhill. Going 11-17 down the stretch (including the playoffs), Minnesota got one playoff point out of Hanzal and White in the one playoff round they featured in. Both rentals bolted, which was arguably the best outcome for Minnesota.

    Verdict: fail. Although Hanzal scored 13 points in 20 RS games with Minnesota, it doesn't outweigh everything else being absolutely ****ing awful.


    15-16


    Staal for 2x2nd+Saarela:

    Adding Eric Staal to boost your offense seems like a good plan. It is for that reason why his 6 points in 20 RS games and 0 points in 5 playoff games are as much bizarre as it is awful. Now, the Rangers were helped out by Staal's restrictive list of teams he was willing to go to, but they did not have a team with which they should have been buyers in the first place. To add insult to injury, Staal has gone on to be one of the better centers over the last two and a half years with the Wild, whereas the Rangers were left empty-handed.

    Verdict: fail. A lesson for teams: if your team is not good, buying rentals to fix it is a bad ****ing idea.

    Ladd+scraps for 1st+Dano+cond. 3rd:

    Faced with a tough decision, the Jets had to let go of some of their UFAs as part of the process of transitioning to the new core. That is where Andrew Ladd was traded, and despite having his point totals going downhill at the time, he still fetched the Jets a fairly high price of a first and Dano, a former first. Chicago, on the other hand, received 2 points in seven playoff games from Ladd, before he walked as an UFA. As you have probably realised by now, this deal was not a success by any of the criteria.

    Verdict: fail. Funnily enough, this was not their worst buy that year...

    Weise+Fleischmann for Danault+2nd

    Pretty close to the Hanzal deal mentioned earlier. Two crappy bottom six forwards coming in, two good futures going out. Fleischmann and Weise literally combined for seven points during their time in Chicago, and neither of them stuck with the roster for the entire seven-game playoff run. We should probably mention that Danault was not the player he is today at the time, but adding to him to get two players who were not better anyway is just horrendous. Needless to say, neither player stayed in Chicago after the playoff loss.

    Verdict: fail. It is one thing to add depth for picks, but the level of crappiness elevates to a whole another level when you're trading young depth for old, usually **** depth.


    14-15


    Vermette for 1st+Dahlbeck

    A rental which most of us refer to when speaking about the successful ones. Vermette was an important piece of the Cup-winning Blackhawks, despite not putting up too many points in the process. The cost was a little high and he continued his trek around the league with the Coyotes afterwards, so there wasn't much more Chicago got out of their investment.

    Verdict: pass. I find buying rentals irresponsible and risky, but in the end, a result like this is exactly what you'd hope to see.

    Sekera for cond. 1st+McKeown

    It is hard to conceptualise how bad this one was. First off, the price was very high, even for a top 4 defenseman of Sekera's caliber. It gets ever higher after Sekera walks for free just months after the trade. What makes the deal unbearable is that the Kings... sigh... missed the playoffs.

    Verdict: absolutely ****ing catastrophic fail on every level imaginable.

    Franson+Santorelli for 1st+Leipsic+Jokinen:

    Literally the Hanzal deal all over again. If you're giving up a decent chunk of your future to bolster your depth at the deadline, go for quality depth. Neither Franson nor Santorelli had much success, and the playoff push lasted for one round. Both rentals walked away from Nashville.

    Verdict: fail. You probably wouldn't be happy if your first round drafted prospect turned into a Santorelli. Why would you be happy with trading the pick for two months of one?

    ---

    TOTAL: 3 passes (Kane, Vermette, Stastny), 12 fails

    These fifteen trades can reasonably be classified as both expensive and rental deals. As you can see, not a lot of them were particularly successful for the very purpose for which they were acquired, and in most cases, the cost of acquisition was very high even in vacuum. Although the sample size is rather small, top 6 F/top 4 D caliber rentals obviously provided better value than inferior ones - and yet even the top 6 ones let their teams down at a crazily high rate (2 passes out of 7).

    The teams got any long-term value out of their acquisitions in six of the fifteen cases. Of these, I'd classify the Kane deal as a significant long-term deal, and the rest were very meh (Hartman as a bottom sixer, Copley from the Shattenkirk deal as the backup in Washington, Boston managed to dump some cap, Hansen played some games with the Sharks, and Tatar was a trade piece for Vegas).


    What have we learned?

    Usually, February is a dangerous time to go window shopping. The costs are high, and more often than not, the return you're getting will be a lackluster. It is very rare to find a rental who is a good contributor in vacuum, and it is even harder to find one who can be had for cheap.
     
  2. A1LeafNation

    A1LeafNation Leafs living rent free in the Bruins heads!

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    Every GM thinks they are smarter than the rest.

    Every GM thinks they will win the cup with the edge they get, and don’t care about and future year.
     
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  3. Joe Strummer

    Joe Strummer Fuelled by Whiskey

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    Good analysis.
     
  4. Lexicon

    Lexicon Registered User

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    Real good read - enjoyed the post.
     
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  5. Perfect_Drug

    Perfect_Drug Registered User

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    Good analysis indeed.


    UFA's and UFA rentals are a bust unless its Hossa.
     
  6. RoyalHabs

    RoyalHabs No chance but to rebuild with Bergevin

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    There is no Panarin, Duchene or Stone on your list. Any team who add a player like that will have a better chance at the cup
     
  7. Maukkis

    Maukkis EZ4ENCE

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    Should that not be a given?

    The impact of a single player is vastly overstated here. A top 6 F like Duchene generally increases your odds of winning by 2-3%, from what is usually below 10 percent for most top teams. That, however, is best left for better statisticians to explain.
     
  8. Falco Lombardi

    Falco Lombardi The Diamond of HFWF

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    Good post, appreciate the time put into this.
     
  9. txpd

    txpd Registered User

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    A team that has a clear hole in the lineup, the rental can be a good move.
     
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  10. txpd

    txpd Registered User

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    That just isn't true. You can derail a team by bringing in a player like that just as easily as improve them at all. The Shattenkirk trade. He was never comfortable with the Capitals and said that. He bumped John Carlson off the power play that was already performing well. That upset numerous long tenured players in the locker room.

    The TDL acquisition can say two things. That management believes in the team's chances and is willing to spend for them or that management doesn't trust them and thinks they need more. Shattenkirk was the latter. Marion Hossa was the former.
     
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  11. NHL WAR

    NHL WAR Registered User

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    It is definitely a seller's market. Best case scenario the buyer gets the player for what, 35-40 games including playoffs? This costs them a 1st rounder plus, but no one bats an eye. If you convert that TDL rate to the same player in the off-season, it is crazy. Imagine if 2 first rounders, a 2nd, a roster player or two and a prospect got traded for Rick Nash in August of 2017. Or double that when he had 2 years of term left.
     
  12. Maukkis

    Maukkis EZ4ENCE

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    Obviously. Then again, you probably should address that need at some other time anyway.

    Which of these fifteen moves qualify as ones that filled a specific hole? I guess the Vermette one? Others look very much like depth moves to me. Well, I guess Stastny addressed a need, but it didn't address a literal hole as much as it was done to stack up the roster at a position of relative weakness.
     
  13. Crazy Cizikas

    Crazy Cizikas Registered User

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    I enjoyed the read. It’s worth mentioning that these rentals were not great game-changers to begin with. Giving up the future for different (but same) blood is not wise. However, there are good rentals out there that would be beneficial for a strong playoff run (Panarin).
     
  14. txpd

    txpd Registered User

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    I am not going thru those deals above again. Most teams plan to work young players into their lineups. Often those players while still growing are not ready for playoff hockey. You replace them with a rental and then put them back in the lineup the next season. Ive seen that often. Teams get injuries that create holes. A hole in the lineup just cant be addressed preseason every time like you seem to suggest here.

    As a Caps fan I can tell you that as bad as the Shattenkirk trade turned out, the rental of Sergei Fedorov was a home run. His time with the Capitals is still reaping rewards

    Meanwhile, as badly as the Shattenkirk deal worked out, what exactly did the Caps lose there?
     
  15. Maukkis

    Maukkis EZ4ENCE

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    What if you don't have a young player left to replace the rental, because you have traded away your future already?

    Besides: if someone is not ready for playoff hockey, I don't think they are supposed to be in the NHL at any other time either.
     
  16. 613Leafer

    613Leafer Registered User

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    The NHL isn't like the NBA. In the NBA, Pretty much one of the top 2-3 teams are almost guaranteed to win the Championship, so if you can make a move to get yourself into that level, it can be worth it even at expensive deadline prices.

    In the NHL? You pretty much just have to get yourself into the top ~6-8 in the league, and you're in the conversation (and even then you get the odd winners outside of that, like LA in 2012). In the salary cap era, the President Trophy winning team has only won the Cup twice, but been knocked out in the first round 4X.

    Hockey is much more of a team sport where the addition of a single player is much less likely to have a major impact. There's also more luck involved, where running into a hot goalie (or having your goalie go cold for a few games) can knock a great team out of the playoffs pretty quickly. So I personally would generally avoid paying deadline prices for rentals, because I think you're subtracting from your ability to compete in subsequent years for a very limited benefit in the short-term.
     
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  17. stepdad gaary

    stepdad gaary Registered User

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    i'll try to resist
     
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  18. LamorielloAndSon

    LamorielloAndSon Registered User

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    Didn’t Ladd score like 18 goals in 20 games when he was sent to the black hawks as a rental?
     
  19. txpd

    txpd Registered User

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    Well...What if?? The suggestion is that there is never a good reason to get the rental. I am saying there are scenarios where the rental is the right move.

    You also are just not being realistic about the rookie development. Often the way to grow a young NHL player is with the actual NHL grind. Mostly teams relying on rookies come playoffs find even the better young players fail them. Rookies wear down. That is typical.
     
  20. FootKnight

    FootKnight This ****ing team

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    Sekera was to fill the void on the 2nd pairing left by Voynov's departure. He was good at it until he got injured.

    I know your list only goes back to 2015, but for the Kings, Gaborik was a rental in 2014.
     
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  21. NHL WAR

    NHL WAR Registered User

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    Including playoffs, he had 9 goals and 14 points in 27 games.
     
  22. KingsHockey24

    KingsHockey24 Registered User

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    LA traded Klefbom (1st Round Pick), Teubert, Jack Johnson, Matt Frattin two 3rd's, a 1st and a 2nd for Dustin Penner, Jeff Carter, and Marian Gaborik.
     
  23. Maukkis

    Maukkis EZ4ENCE

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    Why is it that according to a pretty reasonable analysis, 80% of those who spend a lot on a rental don't get their money's worth?

    If you want depth, pay accordingly. Most of the time, it seems like NHL GMs overpay for returns that are woefully insufficient for the assets they give up.

    Rookies might falter, but they cost nothing to put into the lineup. Then you have teams paying first rounders for guys who do the same. Why is that?
     
  24. Louie the Blue

    Louie the Blue Because it's a trap

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    Jeff Carter is the furthest thing from a rental.
     
  25. Name Nameless

    Name Nameless Registered User

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    The biggest problem, IMHO, is the value of a first-rounder: if you win, it's a 31OA, if you fail to make the playoffs, it's a lottery-pick...

    I know, you can lottery-protect and all of that, but that doesn't always work out, either.

    And this uncertainty makes it impossible for a bubble-team to trade with their first.
     

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