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With the countdown underway for the ECHL Trade Deadline on Thursday, March 8 at 3 p.m. ET, we offer a primer guide to help follow events.

Important definitions:

Recall/Assignment Deadline: This deadline comes before the ECHL deadline for a fundamental reason. According to Dan Petrino, Manager of Hockey Operations for the ECHL, since NHL/AHL contracted players are not the property of an ECHL club, those players cannot be traded.  However, If an NHL/AHL team wants to move one of their contracted players from one ECHL Member to another, they must do so by March 7 at 11:59 pm local time.

Future Considerations: That phrase is something you see used with most trades in the ECHL, but what does it exactly mean?  Petrino says future considerations refer to either a player or cash to be agreed upon at a later date. Those future considerations trades must be settled by June 13 at 3 pm Eastern Time.

Waivers: The waiver wire in the ECHL works similarly to the waiver wire in other major professional sports. The waiver order is set weekly in the ECHL and the team with the worst percentage has the highest waiver priority, while the team with the best percentage has the last waiver priority. If a team makes a successful waiver claim during the week, they move to the bottom of the waiver priority until it resets again.

What’s Happened So Far?

  • Our official trade tracking period started with a three-way trade involving the Wheeling Nailers, Quad City Mallards & Orlando Solar Bears. Chris Francis was traded to the Orlando Solar Bears and then flipped to the Wheeling Nailers in exchange for Hunter Fejes J.C. CampagnaMichael Turner was also part of that trade, but he was ultimately released by the Wheeling Nailers.
  • Utah offloaded several players as they went younger and quicker in their lineup. In one of the more significant moves, Tim Branham sent ECHL All-Star Cliff Watson and Ryan Olsen to Colorado in exchange for Gage Ausmus and Jake Marchment. Additionally, the Grizzlies acquired Joel Rumpel from Wichita in exchange for Jon Puskar.
  • The Allen Americans are on the outside-in on the Mountain Division playoff picture and Steve Martinson has been busy working to regenerate his roster. He has acquired Tristan King from the Quad City Mallards for Connor Reilly & future considerations. Also, the Americans picked up Thomas Frazee from the Norfolk Admirals, as well as Alex Carrier from the Atlanta Gladiators for Mathieu Aubin.

A Look Back at Last Year’s Deadline and Ahead to This Year’s. Will it be Busy or Meh?

Last year’s deadline day started off with a whimper, with Cincinnati sending Peter LeBlanc to Manchester for future considerations.

But by the time the evening slate of games began in the league, there were 13 total trades, many announced after the league’s deadline at 3 pm ET.

Looking ahead to this year’s deadline, the transaction volume has been steady, with the league recording at least one trade each day since February 27.

There are quite a few intriguing storylines out there. With teams like Greenville, Rapid City, Quad City, and Norfolk likely out of contention for the Kelly Cup playoffs this season, do they become sellers and look make a move or two to acquire players they can protect and try to sign during the summer?

In the West, the situations with Kalamazoo, Tulsa, and Wichita are the most intriguing. Do they try and acquire a piece or two to make a push for the playoffs, or do they stand pat? Both teams are in the bottom half of the draw in the divisional playoff bracket, and a major piece or two could move them up to the top-half of the draw.

For their part, the Tulsa Oilers have not done much in the run-up to the deadline, but remain in the fourth position in the Mountain Division.

In the East, it appears the playoff teams have separated themselves from the pack, but there is still some suspense. In the North, Wheeling appears to be thin in net, and now have well-traveled and not-good-in-the-ECHL goaltender Matt O’Connor manning the crease.

Down South, the fall-from-grace continues for the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, who are winless in 12 straight contests. The Swamp Rabbits have some assets that might be of value to teams who are looking to solidify or bolster a specific area.

Another curious case to watch is what the Norfolk Admirals might do? They certainly have a good mix of youth and experience throughout their line up and seem like they are some parts away from overtaking the Gladiators in the South. Do they go all-out and make major moves, or do they sell off some parts and get a look at the returns for next season?

If history is to be our guide, Thursday is likely to be a busy-ish trade deadline day, with most teams looking to add depth, rather than make any major moves. Here is a look at how many trades have gone down on deadline days in the ECHL since 2011:

2011: 6 deadline day deals
2012: 7 deadline day deals
2013: 14 deadline day deals
2014: 6 deadline day deals
2015: 9 deadline day deals
2016: 5 deadline day deals
2017: 13 deadline day deals

What will happen this trade deadline and how will it shape the playoff races going forward? Stay tuned. We have quite a story to tell you…

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