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Trade Fever - Actions at the Trade Table

GMG's Trade Fever VII - Actions at the Trade Table

Being part of a fantasy league allows us to become GMs and manage our very own teams to victory. Just like the real NHL though, some build their teams well and gain reputation while others simply fizzle out and eventually step down or get replaced.  It takes a strong draft and sharp trading skills to stay in the running year after year - one small trade could set your team back at least one or more seasons if done incorrectly. As seen in previous editions of Trade Fever, there are steps that can be taken, such as self-auditing your team* and understanding the opposition** you're dealing with, in order to maximize your team's potential. This intro to trading will highlight the different actions met at the trade table, and show you how to react when faced with certain traders.

Post draft, trading your assets (3P's: players, prospects, picks) can either make or break your team. It's no lie, trading is an addiction which undoubtedly becomes a craving that many managers can't resist. While it's definitely not a bad thing - since we all love to have active GMs - going trigger happy without understanding the RCV's (Rules, Categories and Value of players) of your league is a recipe for disaster.

There are basically four trade table actions: receiving a trade, using the trade block, offering a trade and countering. These trade actions are manipulated and used in different ways depending on the types of managers in your league (ie: the aggressive trader).

Aggressive traders will always look to offer deals, making sure to hit up everyone in the league with at least one or two low-ball offers. From the reactions received (or lack thereof) they assess the "untrained" managers from those who have handled and dealt with this type of trader before. Aggressive traders try to sell their players with whatever information they can (usually built off of hype) and will try to exaggerate the benefits for you. Advice? Don't fall into their trap as they will throw everything at you including the kitchen sink. They will try to make it as appealing as possible, especially with fancy wording. Know that there is always more than meets the eye and if they keep persisting, there must be a reason behind their motives.  Don't make any hasty decisions. The longer you make an aggressive trader wait, the more likely they'll reconsider their offer and make it more reasonable. Remember that you have the upper hand and hold the cards that they want. 

The above is a prime example of to how to react when receiving a trade simply because most times when an offer is made to you, it tends to favour the opposing manager. Whether it's 1) to see how much you value your players, 2) an attempt to buy low or 3) a straight up low-ball, always take the time needed to fully analyze the offer at hand. If there is any sign of possible regret, stay put. Don't forget that it's ok to reject trades. The best thing to do in that situation is to explain why you are rejecting it. It's always courteous to reply to offers received even though sometimes it feels like a hassle (we are all guilty of that). On the other hand, if you are indeed interested in some of the assets that were offered, try sending a counter - don't settle.   

A good way to test the waters is by posting up a trade block, although don't expect much action if you're only showing off bottom tier players. You'll know what that means when you try posting Jan Hejda on the block compared to say, Mike Green. Maybe a more affective way to use the trade block is to announce what your needs are and what you have a surplus of. Got four Centers but only 1 LW? Need an extra tender because yours went down in yesterday's game? Announce it, you may just find a dance partner. Best trade block advice? If someone has made you an enticing offer for your star player (like Steven Stamkos or Carey Price), before accepting it, post on your block that you are considering the move, allowing other GMs to send in a last minute (and sometimes better) offer. Many times a manager will trade away their best assets for much less than what they could have received from other GMs. Don't be that guy!

If posting up a trade block isn't for you, and you don't wish to sit around waiting to receive trade offers, you can always show initiative by sending out trade proposals. Before offering a trade, do yourself a favour and self audit your team* in order to find out what your needs are and what direction your team is headed in. Once you know where you stand, it makes finding a trade partner that much easier. Speaking of trade partners, learning to read your opponents** might help you determine how rival GMs value certain players due to personal preferences and biases***, which alone can give you the necessary edge in trade talks. It is good practice to send proposals that are in your favour to some extent as this will give you wiggle room should a counter be made. Like mentioned above, it should be expected that most offers will be biased towards the GM who's proposing it. On the flip side, that knowledge helps you see through persuasive traders who will use those same tactics against you.

Persuasive traders will do their background research. They will look at past trades and scan opposing teams in order to make a persuasive deal taking advantage of a player's perceived value (such as a favourable name) more so than their actual worth. This type of trader constantly shuffles his team and seeks out buy-low/sell-high opportunities - one person's trash is another person's treasure. It is a tricky situation to handle because you may really like the players that are presented. Deep down you have to ask yourself if, past the names and the glamour, accepting this deal will benefit your team's game plan and structure. If the answer to that question is no, either push it aside or counter with something that does.

I've said it once and I'll probably say it again: if this is your first picnic and you happen to lose a trade, don't make too much of it. Learn from it by acknowledging the feedback received from veteran league members or simply ask one of them to give you their opinion. See what they would've done in your shoes.  Any and all criticism goes a long way to help you become a stronger poolie. Who knows? Soon enough you might be the one dishing out advice and making your presence felt. At the end of the day, the more you trade the more you'll start to see patterns and formulas that work - especially if you're lucky enough to be stuck with the same (active) opposing managers year after year.

Good luck and happy trading!

GMG signing off.

As always, If you have any questions or feedback on what was discussed as well as suggestions for future editions feel free contact me by email or Twitter (@GM_Gates).

Published Mon, Jan 24th, 2011