NoVa Caps Guide To The NHL Trade Deadline

NBC Sports Washington.pngPhoto: Washington Capitals

The NHL Trade Deadline is the final opportunity for teams to add/subtract players from other organizations for the final push to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, or for other teams to start selling and building for the future. In this piece, NoVa Caps informs you of everything you need to know about the NHL trade deadline, which usually occurs the last Monday of February. 

What Does It Mean?

Teams have until 3:00 PM on February 25 to make a trade with other teams and to improve theirs before the Stanley Cup Playoff run. Teams can make trades after the deadline but the players who are involved aren’t eligible to see any action in the postseason. A player must be under contract to participate in the postseason.

Trades may occur before the deadline but are formally announced after the 3 PM trade deadline.


  • All players still need to clear waivers to be sent to the AHL if they are waiver eligible.
  • To be eligible for the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs, a player must be on an AHL team the day of the NHL trade deadline

Roster Management

  • Rule 16.4 of the CBA states that there shall be a maximum of twenty-three (23) Players on each Club’s Active Roster at any one time, provided, however, that, on the date of each season’s Trade Deadline, a Club’s Active Roster may be increased to any number of Players the Club, in its discretion, so determines, subject to Article 50.
  • How active a team is at the NHL Trade Deadline could depend on how much room they have on their roster at the time.

Using Money In Trades

  • The acquiring team must assume at least 50 percent of the remaining salary and cap charge of the SPC
  • Such a contract can only be traded twice using provision 1 during the lifetime of the SPC
  • Retained salary by the trading team cannot be more than 15 percent of the upper salary cap limit
  • A maximum of 3 such contracts with salary retained in a trade can be on a team’s books at any one time

No Trade Clauses

  • Players with no-trade clauses (NTC) can submit a list of 10 teams they cannot be traded to
  • Players with a modified NTC can select up to however many teams he can or cannot be traded to depending on the contract

What Is Meant By a “Rental”?

Players that can become unrestricted free agents and their current team is either well out of the playoff race or wants to trade them rather than risk losing them for nothing in free agency. Teams acquire “rental” players to satisfy their need(s) for a long playoff run. The teams who are acquiring a “rental” normally send prospects, draft pick (at least a first-round), and maybe even roster players to acquire that player.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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