With the trade deadline arriving Tuesday and many fantasy leagues sharing a similar deadline, I thought it prudent to share my own thoughts and experiences on the tricks of the “trade” (pardon the pun):
(Originally published in The Hockey News on February 26)
Those who make the phone calls win more deals than those who receive the phone calls
Be aggressive. You are going to lose deals. That is a fact. But don’t let that stop you from trying. In my experience, the real aggressive poolies who make a lot of trades tend to win more than they lose. In the end, that improves their squad.
Answering the phone and letting the competition make all the offers would obviously give you the opposite result – you would lose more than you win. Be aggressive!
Always respond with a counter
If somebody gives you an offer, that person is interested in doing a deal with you. He or she is interested in either unloading a player, or is interested in one of your players. If the offer is outlandish, send a counter offer anyway.
Every player has a price – even the “untradeables” I talk about so often in this column. If another owner is making you an offer, this owner is more desperate to do a deal than you are – so take advantage of that. Always.
Find what your trade partner is interested in the most and exploit it
As mentioned in No. 2, somebody making you an offer is either unloading someone or after someone. Usually with some conversation you can get a feel for who the player is. If he or she is looking to unload a guy, there is a bargain to be had.
If he or she is after one of your players, counter with an offer that brings a return even greater than what you would normally ask for. He or she will bargain you down, but that’s fine because you started high. Just pay attention, find that key player and make sure he is part of any counter you make.
If you are about to agree to trade an elite player – stop. Make it known first
As I said in No. 2, everyone has a price. But don’t you dare make fun of the Boston Bruins for trading Joe Thornton to the San Jose Sharks without shopping him first, if you turn around and do the same thing. How many times have you thought to yourself, “boy, Boston sure dropped the ball on that Thornton deal – why didn’t they shop him first?”
Just remember you would look just as dumb trading Sidney Crosby or Vincent Lecavalier without first letting everyone in the league know they are available. It’s five minutes before the deadline and you don’t have time to announce such a thing? Ask for an extra first-round pick (over and above your agreed upon deal) for giving up the option of shopping him at the last minute.
Everyone has a price
I am always repeating the mantra “never trade Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, or Evgeni Malkin.” You can probably add Roberto Luongo to the list and soon Carey Price will be there, as well. But, there is a price for these players. It is just so high that 99 percent of all fantasy owners will not pay it. Just the other day I gave an owner in my keeper league my price for Sidney Crosby:
Sidney Crosby, Jimmy Howard, Dustin Boyd, Robert Nilsson, Benoit Pouliot, Jonathan Filewich, 4th in '08, 3rd in '08 for Rick Nash, Nicklas Backstrom (WAS), Jonathan Toews, Dustin Brown, Jason Pominville, Stephen Weiss, Phil Kessel, Gilbert Brule, Sam Gagner, Claude Giroux, Roberto Luongo, 1st in '08, 1st in '10, 1st in '11, 1st in '12
Big price? Sure, but I wouldn’t be comfortable with less. If he countered with one fewer first round pick and maybe downgraded another pick and removed Kessel, I may have still accepted it. I wouldn’t have accepted much less than that, though.
The point is, there was a price. It would have hurt his team badly, but the option was there. Only Sid the Kid can command this much. Just remember – you are happy keeping these players and you do not want to trade them. So trading them has to make you feel good.
Don’t half-ass it
If you are going for the win and your lead is thin, put it away. Make the deal, even if you lose it in the long run in your keeper league, to secure the win. There is only one winner each season, so there is no sense in risking failure. Second place is just the first-place loser!
The leaders in a close race are desperate. Don’t give them a fair deal
The top three in your league are neck and neck and all of them are calling you for a player. Take full advantage. You can be nice to them next summer at the draft – buy them a beer, whatever. But at the deadline, you are a vampire.
Your job is to suck as much as you can out of them. If one won’t pay, the other will.
If you get an offer that you actually like right off the bat…try to stay calm!
I recently received a trade offer I liked immediately. It took everything I could not to click “reply” and type “yes” and then hit “send.” Had I done that, he may have wondered why I accepted so quickly and then he might have recanted.
Instead, I hummed and hawed on the email back. I said it was a good offer, but I really liked this player. However, if he upgraded this pick to a better pick, I would do it. He agreed to the upgrade. Not only did the deal get completed, but also I upgraded a pick.
Discuss this article RIGHT HERE in our famous fantasy hockey forum!