Edited Dec 22, 2019 at 10:36
If the game was entirely based upon the CBA, there wouldn't be any of the following: trade reversals, GMs who vote on whether other team's trades stand or not, inability to retain excessive amounts, GM firings for inadequate performances, and a limit on the number of waiver claims allowed per month. Therefore, the purpose of a trade freeze in this alternate-reality game is worth questioning...my two cents
It is true, we have appropriated many of the CBA's rules and regulations, but on a meta level I see this as a reaction to our fictional environment. The 32 owners of the NHL teams have found that their organizations are being controlled by GM's that are, in many cases, below the level they are willing to accept. I'm sure Edmonton is surprised and confused by this notion but many wouldn't be. It makes sense that to protect their investments they put a governing body over the leagues general managers, both as a precautionary measure to protect investments and as an opportunity to directly encourage more equal competition (We all know Bettman has wanted this power since he started).
That being said, while the trust owners have in their managers has been in question for a few years now the players association has taken this opportunity to change hockey to be safer and more player friendly by changing the goals of the game. The game is now based off of more skill based incentive scoring instead of puck in net caveman style pissing matches of hitting and fighting. They pushed for the value of advanced statistics to give better determinations of value of skill across the league and the physical toll on players has been significantly decreased due to skill being rewarded and hitting and fighting being non-entities in winning effectively limiting hitting to a minimum and relegating fighting to an uncommon sideshow. In this renaissance of player safety there is no way in hell the owners would move to take away simple rights as the winter Holiday trade break.
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