The NHL trade deadline is a time for contenders to improve themselves, pretenders to delude themselves and those with lost seasons to prepare for the future.
But there's one problem facing all of those teams, according to Brian Burke, and that's a math problem.
"I just checked again with the NHL, and they're still only giving out one Stanley Cup," said Burke, the longtime NHL general manager who's now the president of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"That's the issue at the deadline. The math doesn't work. There's only one parade, but anywhere up to 18 teams will make themselves better in an effort to win a Cup or to win a round or whatever their goals are. So the math doesn't work and you overpay. More mistakes get made at the trade deadline than the rest of the year."
The key at the NHL trade deadline is to mitigate those errors. After speaking to Burke and others, here are 10 rules for front offices to follow at the deadline.