No trade? NO!

How stupid are general managers in the NHL anyway? Plenty, it seems.

Why on God’s green earth would they ever saddle themselves with the following (combined) millstones: A long-term contract and  a no-trade clause? Think it’s about a player wanting the “security” of knowing where they’ll be playing for the rest (or most) of their career? Nonsense; it leverages all possible power into the hands of the player in a way that effectively handcuffs the team. Here’s how we’ve seen it play out with nauseating regularity:

A player with a fat (no-trade) contract decides he wants a trade after all. The GM shops him around and gets a couple of offers where at least some comparable value is in place. The player (who demanded a trade) refuses to waive his no-trade clause to any of the suggested destinations. Further talks ensue with the player’s “preferred” destinations; eventually yielding a couple of minor league prospects and a couple of rolls of hockey tape.

Everyone knows that demanding a trade and being denied simply poisons the well. When the player effectively scuttles any trades to destinations he doesn’t ‘like’, it pretty much hamstrings the prospect of any return on a trade.

When a player demands a no-trade clause, it suggests a commitment to remain with the team for the term of the contract. If he then decides he wants a trade, shouldn’t it follow that the demand itself be treated like a waiver of the no-trade clause?

Listen up, geniuses: When there’s the first mention of a no-trade clause in a negotiation, make sure you get a parallel condition that any request for a trade by the player for a trade is a deemed waiver of the clause. Bad enough that these ‘lifetime’ contracts become difficult to move in the first place. But when the supposedly ‘no-move’ player not only wants a change of scene, but his choice of destination, it’s time to draw the line.

 

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