February 26, 2008

What is wrong with the NHL. Feb. ‘08 edition

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

There’s a reason that most sports, leagues and teams consistently stray from including no-trade and no-movement clauses in a player’s contract. It’s because it is dumb. Why would a team willing put itself in a situation where their hands are completely and utterly tied. When should the employee have complete control of a situation over their employer? It makes no sense.

What is a no-trade clause? It’s as simple as it sounds. These guys cannot be traded unless they actually want to be moved. So if a player has become more valuable to their team if traded away for, say, some prospects or draft picks because the team’s season is all but over.

A whopping 121 players in the NHL have no-trade clauses in their contracts. Compare that to ONE active no-trade clause in the NBA, according to ESPN. That one player is a guy who was willing to waive that clause during the summer as well as being an all-star that the team would be stupid to get rid of, no matter what their situation. It’s Kobe Bryant in case you were wondering.

So 121 players in the NHL are at the equivalent of Kobe Bryant? Yeah right. I wouldn’t say anyone in the entire league is comparable to what Bryant is doing and has done on the hardwood. There are players like the Maple Leafs’ Pavel Kubina or the Bruins’ P.J. Axelsson who cannot be dealt without their permission. This guys are mediocre at best and demonstrate how weak the guys running teams are to cave to scrubs demands.

In the NFL, no-trade clauses are a non-factor. There’s hardly any trades and many have to demand one to get out of town. With most contracts not even guaranteed, I would severely doubt there will ever be a no-trade clause in the world’s best run league.

Major League Baseball, on the other hand, has a stipulation that is interesting regarding a no-trade clause: If a player has played ten seasons and at least five in a row with one team, he gains 5-and-10 status. His loyalty to a team gives him the right to refuse a trade. There are players with straight-up no-trade clauses, but not a wide-spread amount like in the dumbest of all associations, the NHL.

No-trade and no-movement clauses should be allowed only to a certain calibre of players. Why anyone would give this right to menial talents is astounding and another example of what is wrong with the NHL.

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