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ROZYCKI: Mavs Presented With Tough Decisions At Trade Deadline

Monday, March 2nd
ROZYCKI: Mavs Presented With Tough Decisions At Trade Deadline

The time for big decisions to be made is here. In the midst of what will be viewed as a lost season for the Kansas City Mavericks, the clock is ticking towards the ECHL trade deadline this Thursday at 2:00 p.m. This week is always tricky and difficult to navigate, regardless of your team’s positioning within the standings. Tough choices have to be made and any move that occurs will immediately be placed under the microscope, as it can have tremendous impact on both ends of the spectrum for the team swinging the deal.

Here is the tough spot that the Mavericks currently find themselves: they are currently 11 points back of the fourth and final playoff spot in the Mountain Division. With only 14 games to play, that is a daunting hill to climb, but with three games in hand over Tulsa (who current occupy that spot), it makes it less far-fetched. On the heels of a disastrous 8-2 drubbing at the hands of the Kalamazoo Wings on Saturday night however, optimism in a torrid run towards a playoff berth isn’t exactly filling the air.

Let’s play the hypothetical game for a minute. If the Mavericks win all three of those games that they have in hand over Tulsa, and beat the Oilers in all three contests (in regulation) between the two teams left on the schedule, that makes up the ground that you’re looking for. However, the other 11 games left are against Wichita, Rapid City, and Allen, and you’d likely have to win at least seven of those, if not eight, to be able to secure that final playoff spot. In total, the Mavericks would likely need to win 11 of their final 14 games, including sweeping Tulsa, to have a realistic shot at sneaking their way into the playoffs.

So, we’re back to having to make that tough decision between buying at the deadline to try and acquire players to make a playoff push or selling off talent to try and build towards next season. No one wants to be sellers and have to admit that the season is essentially lost. On the flip side, no one wants to give up talent that can be built upon to acquire deadline pieces and put your team in a hole to start the following season. This is not an enviable position to be in. Let’s take a look at all three options, then you can decide for yourself which direction the Mavericks should go.


The Mavericks could look at the upcoming schedule, with all 14 games coming against opponents within the division and against teams that they know very well and decide that if a couple bounces go their way, they have a legitimate shot at wiggling their way into the final playoff spot. They acquire some help on the front end to address their lack of offensive firepower, add a depth defenseman, possibly get some help from Stockton (which seems unlikely since the Heat are in the thick of a wild playoff chase in the AHL’s Pacific Division), and get Justin Woods back. Suddenly, you have a roster that has been re-tooled on the fly with the hopes of going on a run. Should the Mavericks somehow find themselves in the playoffs, there first round opponent will likely be the Allen Americans, a team that seems to ride or die whether star forward Tyler Sheehy is in the lineup. Maybe Sheehy gets the call for the AHL postseason and won’t be around and the Mavericks make some noise. But, at the end of the season, the Mavericks may have to give up a key player to fulfill future considerations obligated from their trade deadline deals.


The Mavericks realize that they are too banged up and too shorthanded on both sides of the puck to make a legitimate run at a playoff spot. They trade some players in order to acquire talent for next season. With a new coaching regime coming, the additional talent sparks even more interest in the job than what is already there (which is a lot) and the Mavericks have their pick of the litter to be their new bench boss. The new coaching staff takes the helm with a litany of talent that is both returning and recently acquired to help mold a championship contender for the 2020-21 campaign. This, however, also results in some players from this year’s squad being traded away. You have to trade talent to acquire talent. That’s just how it works.

Stand Pat

This is the third and final option that the Mavericks have, albeit it not a very popular one in most scenarios. However, it could also prove to be an effective one. If the Mavericks feel like they have several pieces that they want to bring back next season to build around, and don’t feel like they’d get sufficient value in regard to a trade, they can always just flat out do nothing. They can keep the team exactly how it is, ride out the rest of the season, bring back the players they choose, and then fill in holes on both sides of the puck through free agency.

Before you pick an option, keep in mind that swinging deals has many moving parts and are difficult to execute. Most teams are playing right up against the salary cap, which makes it tough to trade away some of the higher paid players on the roster. Some of the younger players who might not be as big of a cap hit are likely being considered for spots on next year’s squad, so it’s not an easy decision to ship out an affordable player that has the potential to be a key contributor in the future. The “standing pat” option seems unfathomable with how this team has performed lately and the clamoring for significant changes ringing throughout the fan base, but it is an option, nonetheless.

I don’t know which option the Mavericks will choose. My best guess is that they have their ears open to any possibility and are open to any trade that would make this team better, whether that be in this season or the next. This is a tough week that is hard to navigate, but it is a week that can mold the shape and future of this team moving forward. Get the popcorn ready.

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