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A super-definitive ranking of yearly NHL events

The NHL trade deadline for the 2023/24 season is coming up on Friday, March 8, but how does that stack up for fans against the league’s other annual events? Let’s take a look with our super-definitive ranking.

1 – NHL Draft

Not only do you have teams making decisions on the future faces of their franchises (they hope), but you also get trades that affect the present-day roster, so it’s a double whammy. Of course, the NHL (as it likes to do) is trying to ruin a good thing by making the draft ‘decentralized’ starting in 2025, so GMs will then be making their picks remotely. At least we won’t have to hear them thank the host cities any longer.

2 – NHL Free Agency Opens

It’s not your money, but it’s still great fun to be outraged every July when free agency opens and teams start tossing bags of cash at players. Fifty million dollars for eight years for THAT guy? Nuts! Unless of course it’s your team doing the signing. Sixty million dollars for seven years for THAT guy? Awesome!

3 – NHL Trade Deadline

Everyone loves a big trade, but the problem with the Trade Deadline many years is that the big trades happen in the days or weeks beforehand and we’re stuck listening to breakdowns of minor deals for depth players during the hours of hours of coverage. Still, constantly refreshing a ‘trade tracker’ page is a great way to spend a workday, and there’s always the tease that your team does something dramatic.

4 – NHL Preseason Opens

Actual hockey is finally played, even if it is hockey that doesn’t count in the standings. Nothing beats finally seeing your team back on the ice after a long offseason, and the bonus of preseason hockey is that you get to see some of your team’s top prospects and rising minor leaguers get a look in the lineup.

5 – NHL Training Camps Open

Not as notable as the first preseason games, but it’s still the point when hockey gets back on the radar. You get introduced to new players, re-introduced to old players, and find out all the new sponsorships.

6 – NHL All-Star Skills Competition

This started to skate too far into wacky territory over the years before getting somewhat reigned in this past season with a focus on the more classic competitions and an overall winner declared. Would be nice if they expanded the field so more players could compete, but it’s still trending in the correct direction.

7 – NHL All-Star Game

The NHL All-Star Game had some appeal back when it was Wales vs. Campbell or East vs. West or even North America vs. the World – at least they played a real hockey game, albeit one generally without much urgency. But this current format, with four teams and multiple three-on-three games? Junk.

8 – NHL Awards Ceremony

The epitome of awkward. Awards ceremonies are dull at the best of times, but the NHL manages to make their annual kudo handout unbearable. The only thing saving this show is that the league hasn’t yet renamed or rebranded the classic trophies. Once we start handing the league’s top offensive defenseman the “Skip the Dishes Bobby Orr Award” it’ll seriously be time to tune this whole thing out.

With zero championships between his MLB, NHL, and NFL teams over the last 30 years, Dave keeps one foot in the past while shaking his fist at the present. Having provided content to all manner of sports websites over a 20-year career in the industry, Dave brings to Attiq an eye for all things editorial and a disdain for all things New York Yankees. Click here for Dave's posts.