Trading involves exchanging your assets (players and/or draft picks) for another team's assets. When a team makes a trade they are either a seller, a buyer, or a team looking to shakeup their lineup.
Sellers are teams that trade players under contract for draft picks and/or prospects (young players). Usually sellers don't regard their team as a contender (a team that has a good chance of winning the Metro Cup), and often don't expect their team to make the playoffs (and might be open to the idea of tanking the season to get a higher draft pick.
Buyers are teams that trade their draft picks and/or prospects for players under contract. Usually buyers think they have a good chance of winning the Metro Cup, and look to make additions to their team to increase their chances even further.
Deadline Day is day 20. This is the last day trades can be made until the off-season begins.
Salary Consumption occurs when a player (has to be a soon-to-be UFA) is traded away, but their old team continues to absorb their salary for the remainder of the season. By having the option to consume player salaries, buying and selling becomes much easier. Salary consumption allows buyers to acquire players that would normally put them over the $65M salary cap.
Trades can either be made between teams in the same league or between teams that are not in any league (off-season trading). When teams make off-season trades, they can either trade the traditional way (a trade is proposed to a specific team and a response is waited for) or through the off-season trade block.
The off-season trade block allows teams that are not in a league to more easily trade with each other. To post a trade on the off-season trade block, teams need to specify exactly what they are trading away and criteria for what they want in return (the return value). Any team that is not in a league and that can match the return value can automatically complete the trade.
The normal trade block is used while a team is in a league and, unlike the off-season trade block, does not allow for trades to be automatically accepted by any team that can match the return value, but rather merely acts as an advertisement to let other teams know which players are on the block (looking to be traded away by their teams).
Warning: Recognize the value in young players! Trading a 19-year-old playmaker that is rated 82 for a 28-year-old playmaker that is rated 85 is bad!
It is against the rules to:
1. Own multiple accounts
2. Make delibrately lopsided trades
3. Trade between accounts owned by the same person
4. Share players for use in important games
5. Trade a player to one team for salary consumption and then do a trade back.
6. Trade a player to one team to be made into an enforcer and then do a trade back.
7. Exploit new or inexperienced players.
General Rule: All trades must have a legitimate hockey explanation for both teams!
Detailed trading rules along with how trades are administrated can be found here.
If multiple trades are made frequently between the same teams, even if an individual trade is lopsided, as long as the net trade is fair the trade is fine.
If this allowance is used to mask an unfair trade, bans will be given.