The Name Game

Photo credit:James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Robin Brownlee
1 year ago
Back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, writing the hockey beat going into the NHL trade deadline meant the vast majority of your time was spent working the phones — talking to writers in other cities or trying to squeeze information from a team source or maybe greasing an agent for a name. Seems like forever ago, but it wasn’t.
The name game wasn’t nearly as loose then as it is now with social media, podcasts, and websites updated by the minute. The way I see it, Twitter has been the biggest swing in bringing get-it-now immediacy to the information – or misinformation — game. These days, the best beat reporters, be they MSM people or bloggers on sites like ours, not only get the name and the deal right, they get it out there within minutes. Bang! Right now. 
Twitter wasn’t even around when I worked my last trade deadline writing the Oilers beat for the Edmonton Sun back on March 9 of 2006. Twitter wasn’t an option for several more weeks, rolling out in July just after the first I-phones came out. Mercy, that makes me feel like a fossil.
At the deadline in 2006, there was nobody tweeting about the Oilers sending Marty Reasoner, Yan Stastny and a second-round pick that turned into Milan Lucic to Boston for Sergei Samsonov. That came one day after Oilers GM Kevin Lowe sent a couple of draft picks to the Minnesota Wild for Dwayne Roloson. You couldn’t get that via Twitter – or the obligatory blizzard of re-tweets within minutes.


Jan 6, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (6) warms up before a game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
The immediacy of information now is a good thing for fans. They don’t care about who breaks a story leading into the trade deadline nearly as much as reporters do. They just want the goods, and the sooner the better. The guys at the top of the game, like Elliotte Friedman and Frank Seravalli to name two, deliver that – just quicker than was possible 20 years ago. They still make the calls, put in the work and usually get it right.
Circling back to the Oilers, it’s no surprise that in a hockey-mad market like we’ve got there’s more names than ever connected to who GM Ken Holland might be considering before the March 3 deadline. I read an item at The Hockey Writers Tuesday that listed more than a dozen players who could be of interest to the Oilers. As always, some are from legitimate sources while others are pure speculation and guesswork. 
As of yesterday morning, I counted 17 players named as guys who might fit into Holland’s plans. I’m likely missing several names, with the range spanning the usual spectrum from not-a-chance ridiculous to legit discussions that might already be in the works. 
In no particular order, names include Nick Bjugstad, Shayne Gostisbehere, Jakob Chychrun, Carson Soucy, Ivan Provorov, Alex DeBrincat, Nick Holden, Vladislav Gavrikov, Matt Dumba, Joel Edmundson, Jake McCabe, Teddy Blueger, Mattias Ekholm, John Klingberg, Anthony Duclair, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. 
Might one of the above names end up in Edmonton? Sure. As always, there will be more misses than hits. That’s part of the fun for fans on websites like this and part of the job for beat writers and broadcasters around the NHL. Right or wrong, the names just get out there faster than they used to.


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