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The Anatomy of Trading - A couple of years ago I read a life-changing book penned by Steven R. Covey titled “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” One habit that he focuses on is to always think win-win. With the default fantasy trade deadline (March 8th on Yahoo!), creeping up fairly soon, I thought it would be a great idea to see if I can apply some of his thoughts into the realm of fantasy hockey trading.

 

Covey believes that there are six paradigms of interaction.

-          Win/Lose

-          Lose/Win

-          Lose/Lose

-          Win

-          No Deal

-          Win/Win

 

According to Covey, Win/Lose is a paradigm which takes a strict, authoritarian approach. “My way or the highway”, the hard line “take it or leave it approach”, or the “in order for me to win, everyone needs to lose approach” which is probably what 90 percent of the trade propositions you receive, ultimately are. They are the clear-cut “low ball” offers where one party is clearly trying to better themselves, while pawning their crap onto to you. Now, there are two implications of this for fantasy hockey.

 

First, a Win/Lose deal could be accepted (highly unlikely), where you might come out on top in the short run, but in the long run you lost the war, because you’ve p---ed off all your league-mates by robbing the guy which results in no one respecting you anymore. Or second, you send out so many ridiculous offers, that once again no one respects you or takes you seriously. You get blackballed and are rarely included in future trade discussions. So in the end, you might have made out on top of one deal, but if that’s the only deal that you complete during the season, you still end up finishing a loser.

 

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One thing that you need to keep in mind is that any moves that you don’t make will result in a favourable outcome of the leading team.

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The second paradigm that Covey brings up is Lose/Win. The biggest problem with this paradigm is that probably 90 percent of us poolies belong to this grouping, even though we may not know it. At the end of the day, there is only ONE winner, which means there are a dozen (give or take) losers in every pool. Obviously it’s different if you’re playing in a money league with multiple money places, but realistically who settles to play to get their original entry fee back rather than trying to win it all? One thing that you need to keep in mind is that any moves that you don’t make will result in a favourable outcome of the leading team. If things remain status quo, they win, so it’s your job to knock them off their pedestal and take some of that power out of their hands.

 

Covey mentions a third paradigm which is Lose/Lose. Now, there are very few situations where this occurs in fantasy hockey, which makes this scenario a rare occurrence. This situation may occur when a fed up manager, annoyed by losing all year long, drops all of his players onto the ww and disrupts the competitiveness of the entire league: everyone loses. A second one might be the “collusive” trades that so many Dobberites protest against on the forums where a “bottom feeding” team moves their best assets to a contending team once again disrupting the competitiveness of the league. Everyone’s p***ed and no one is happy at the end of the day. The positive is that most leagues have a backup plan to resolve this scenario, but one thing that you do need to keep in mind is that not all “bad” trades are collusion. First, you need to seek to understand, and then judge.

 

Fourth we have Win, it’s pretty similar to Win/Lose, but at the end of the day all you care about is winning and not so much about the others around you. The perfect example of this, from a fantasy hockey perspective, is where a person only cares about winning the “trade” but not necessarily improving their overall team. I’ve read plenty of “did I win this trade?” threads in the forum and I’m thinking in my head, sure you might have won the trade, but how does this really improve your team?

 

Another paradigm is when we negotiate back and forth, day after day but can’t come up with a trade proposal that pleases both parties. It results in No Deal. Obviously a deal just can’t be reached and both parties leave happily. The positive is that no hard feelings were created and both parties are generally happy about the outcome. The downside, unfortunately, is that the edge still remains to the team leading since it creates a status quo situation where they still maintain the upper hand.

 

The final and probably most effective paradigm is of course Win/Win, where an arrangement is made where both parties are completely happy and benefit from the outcome. One of the key factors Covey discusses, in order to build a win/win situation for both parties, is a need to lose the “scarcity mentality”, where we naturally believe that there’s only so much of the pie out there, and in order for me to win, I need to own the biggest chunk of it. Covey then coins a new contrasting term the “abundance mentality”. If every poolie looked at their “abundance” of stats and was willing to part with a small chunk of that in order to improve in another area, wouldn’t trades between two fantasy teams be much easier to create and mutually beneficial? Both teams end up happy and both teams possess a better chance of attacking the top of the table than a Win/Lose or Lose/Win situation, doesn’t it?

 

Step-by-Step Guideline to building a win-win trade

The first step in developing a win-win trade is to look at where your strengths and weaknesses lie. On Yahoo! based leagues it’s a very simple system, you just need to log onto your league and it should bring you to your front page where your standings load up. If you click on the top right corner (full standings), it’ll bring you to a complete break down of your team stats produced so far this campaign.

 

 

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The second step (1 in picture above), is to take a look at your team and identify the weaknesses of your team. In mine (Maaaasquito Bites), the PIM, W, GAA and SV. PIM, W and SV aren’t too bad since I’m in the middle of the pack, so my biggest concern is to improve the GAA department.

 

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Looking at what my targets are in order to gain the most points, I see that my GAA competition is actually tightly bunched (2 in picture above), between me (three), and 7.5 points (Frozen Pool and Nation of Domination). I only need to improve from 2.68 to 2.58, so the biggest target for me is to acquire a number one low-GAA goalie.

 

Third step (3 in the above picture), is to identify who the best potential trading partners actually are. If you compare the overall standings with the area where I want to improve, you can essentially knock out Dry Island Holdout and Messier4Life. They’re not going help me get closer towards in the standings, at least not for a reasonable price anyway. So you have to go further down the list. GMG could be a strong trade partner, but with goalie stats of 14, 13 and 14, the chances of him wanting to shake up his line up are pretty slim. Just in case, I double checked to see which goalies he possesses before I nix the possibility. He owns Pekka Rinne, Nicklas Backstrom, Michal Neuvirth and Chris Mason, and I own Martin Brodeur, Kari Lehtonen and Mike Smith. The only goalie that fits what I need most would be Rinne, but I just don’t see a trade of Lehtonen and Smith for Rinne benefitting either of us.

 

So down the line we go to Dean’s List. Here’s an interesting one. 12 in GAA and 13 in SV but just eight for wins. That’s something that I can definitely work with. He owns Henrik Lundqvist, Tuuka Rask and Curtis Sanford. Ah BINGO! His Lundy is the main reason why his GAA and SV are up there, now a trade of Lehtonen and Smith for Lundy would make perfect sense. He gets a few more wins with two number one goalies, without having to sacrifice too much of the GAA and SV. Win-Win!

 

Now I look at the rest of his team for weaknesses. His G, +/- and PIMs are atrocious, so that’s a good starting point. Remember the big fish that I’m trying to land is Lundy, so anything else is pretty much gravy. I sent out an initial offer of:

 

The Dean’s List

Maaaasquito Bites

Phil Kessel

Derick Brassard

Lundy

Sam Gagner

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Lehtonen

Smith

 

Knowing that it was never going to be accepted, but enough to at least pique his interest. He countered with:

 

The Dean’s List

Maaaasquito Bites

Kessel

Brassard

Lundy

Joe Pavelski

Dan Boyle

RNH

Lehtonen

Smith

 

I wasn’t going to give up Pavelski and one of the premiere defenseman in the league for Kessel, so I came up with two counter proposals.

 

The Dean’s List

Maaaasquito Bites

Alex Tanguay

Brassard

Lundy

T.J. Galiardi

RNH

Lehtonen

Smith

 

or

 

The Dean’s List

Maaaasquito Bites

Jeff Carter

Drew Doughty

Kessel

Brassard

Lundy

Pavelski

Boyle

RNH

Lehtonen

Smith

 

With the deals being fairly similar, I knew that we were pretty close in getting something done. He didn’t like either, but suggested:

 

The Dean’s List

Maaaasquito Bites

Tanguay

Brassard

Lundy

Chris Kunitz

RNH

Lehtonen

Smith

 

I debated a bit about this one, but wasn’t sure I was getting enough with the Tanguay for Kunitz part of the deal. So I countered another two options in:

 

The Dean’s List

Maaaasquito Bites

Jeff Carter

Tanguay

Brassard

Lundy

Kunitz

Patric Hornqvist

RNH

Lehtonen

Smith

 

or

 

The Dean’s List

Maaaasquito Bites

Matt Carle

Tanguay

Brassard

Lundy

Kunitz

Carl Gunnarson

RNH

Lehtonen

Smith

 

In the end, he accepted the latter and we’re both happy campers. Here is the stats breakdown of the trade.

 

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(Note: HPG chart courtesy of Hockey Pool Geek)

 

The Dean’s List

Maaaasquito Bites

Winner

G

0.2

G

0.13

Dean

A

0.43

A

0.37

Dean

+/-

0.67

+/-

-0.1

Dean

PIM

0.33

PIM

0.53

Me

PPP

0.27

PPP

0.27

=

SOG

2.07

SOG

1.6

Dean

W

0.55

W

0.6

Me

GAA

2.46

GAA

1.82

Me

SV

27.3

SV

28.5

Me

 

It’s a pretty even deal across-the-board, he gains in four categories, I gain in four categories and we draw even on the final one, which leads to a perfect win-win situation for the both of us. It took roughly 30 mins of negotiating (so no, negotiating doesn’t need to be a long strenuous process).

 

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Going back to Covey’s wise words, the most effective paradigm to utilize during interactions is the Win/Win paradigm. Not only do you get something done in the here-and-now, but you can also pave a few roads for the future as well. If you’re consistently searching for the “big fish” you might just be left empty handed. I’ll leave you with a famous quote by Albert Schweitzer, “In the hopes of reaching the moon, men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.”

 

Now go grab your flower basket and get trade hunting!

 

Questions or comments? As always I’ll discuss them in the section below.

 

Should you be so inclined, follow me on Twitter.

 


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Comments (8)add comment

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Keeper Leagues That's the one drawback about "keeper" leagues. For me there are far too many "novices" playing in keeper leagues. For a solid keeper league to run, I think all players need to be extremely knowledgeable and have a good gauge of player value.

I've seen far too many situations like yours where everyone is thinking 3,4 or 5 years down the road at winning. I call BS! I can't even tell you who's going to be the leading scorer in a month's time and you're telling me that you know how to build a championship team within 5 years time? I mean c'mon!

I treat my keeper leagues same as one-year leagues, here and now! you go after the win this year, while still acquiring pieces to help you out in the future, but now is most important. I don't care if they're an 80-point potential 5 years down the road, it's still only potential, so many factors can happen to change that potential.

A bird in hand is worth more than 2 in the bush.
February 07, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Trading with unwanting traders Yeah those owners annoy the crap out of me too. But at the end of the day, those are the people that bitch and moan when they lose and blame this and blame that for why they are losing without ever pointing their finger at themselves...

They are so short-sighted only worrying about here and now that they don't have an image of the bigger picture.

They'll never win anything unless they change their mindset.
February 07, 2012
Votes: +1

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
7 habits... Yeah definitely, I initially went in thinking it was your typical self help book about do this, fix that, improve this...but after reading it it really opens up your eyes and helps me form decisions each and every day. Love it!
February 07, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
LOTR Yeah definitely, he's been solid this year, a lot of bouncing around between the three of them for most of the year, I've only really entered the scene the last 2 weeks or so. I was behind about 15 points 2 weeks ago, so I'm starting to make my run now. Hopefully it holds up.

I wouldn't discount FP, the b*****d edged me in the final week of last year and I'm still bitter...
February 07, 2012
Votes: +0

Jeremy Wark said:

jer_33
Trading I know that most of you folks are in one-year leagues, but in keeper/dynasty leagues I always say that you need to look hard at the long-term impact of a deal. No I'm not talking about prospects, though their value in these types of leagues will vary, I'm talking about whether your upsetting the balance of the league AND/OR making it near impossible to ever win.

Too many times, we've seen teams with elite players convinced by a contending team to part with a player for a package of picks/prospects that will "eventually add up to more" than Crosby/Ovechkin/Malkin/etc...

Long-term, will I be able to beat the beneficiary of this trade? That's the question to ask.

Jer
February 07, 2012
Votes: +1

r22yu said:

BlackGold
... Great article, I just hate it when I you offer a Win/Win but the other guy just won't budge because he won't look at the numbers! I've been trying to get Bergeron from a guy who is +150 (which is about +80 ahead of everyone else in the league)and I am last in +/- but he won't swap him for a minus guy with better stats elsewhere....
February 07, 2012
Votes: +0

norrisdivision said:

norrisdivision
7 Habits A great book and a great piece applying its principles! Is there anything it doesn't apply to??! Nice job Ryan.
February 07, 2012 | url
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Perfect The theory here is perfect. Wonderful.
Ma - your logic continues to impress... hope you win the league.

Too bad you guys are getting beat by the "amateur".
LOTR... mercy, at it again.
I just revisited the thread from draft in early-Sept. Doulos said: I checked out Lord of the Rinks' fantasy hockey resume. Never finished lower than third in a yahoo hockey pool since 2006. Dominated the Dobber Leagues at every level so far. My money is on him being the first 'amateur' to win it all this year. His roster looks very good again.

Nice call Doulos!

My personal faves were GMG & Frozen Pool... last & 2nd last in Goals. WTF guys?
(Actually, understandable - I invested in Zetterberg, Heatley, Koivu this year too... all disappointments. Kesler & Letang injuries hurt for FP.)

Congrats Ma for staying in contention with Crosby out!
Impressive. (But where's the PIM... go out and pluck some... how about some Stu Bickel?)

February 07, 2012
Votes: +0
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