In the "Salary Cap" world of today's NHL, all teams must configure their rosters to fit within the Cap currently set at $50.3M USD. And this system encourages a bargaining chip - the no trade clause.
While general managers employ this for different reasons, it ends up having the same effect. Some will use it to pursue players in the free agent frenzy to assure them of stability with their club, and with the same reasoning it is also used for RFA's.
But I ask you this: Is this something important for the NHL?
Personally I wouldn't mind seeing it removed from the league entirely, but some restructuring would also be appreciated.
Look at JFJ, for example. It can be argued that he lost his job because he abused the NTC's to assure the players stability. Ferguson put himself into a corner by giving a no-trade clause to Bryan McCabe, Tomas Kaberle, Darcy Tucker and Mats Sundin. And I ask you this: If JFJ had not given those players a no-trade clause, would he have his job today? It is something to ponder.
With the freedom to trade these players at will, JFJ could have easily moved some of them right when things went awry. In fact, JFJ told TSN last night that he had growing interest for McCabe, Kaberle, Sundin and Tucker from GM's around the league – funny how that works out.
Another example is the Tampa Bay Lightning. GM Jay Feaster has included no-trade clauses in the contracts of Brad Richards and Martin St-Louis. The Lightning are near the bottom of the NHL this season with three of the best forwards in the league, yet Feaster can do little to nothing to cure his club’s woes because St-Louis and Richards need to give permission to be dealt.
But here's another question: Should NHL players have this kind of power? Sure, some will argue every player should have the right to stability, but I disagree with this. When you're playing professional sports, you have to be prepared with the possibility of changing cities. The whole basis off their career is to play hard and impress to stay with their team.
With the NTC, player movement is also on the decline. Don't get me wrong, as always there will be a load of trades at the deadline, but this all goes back to the Ferguson scenario. If teams like Toronto were able to unload their players at the deadline without wondering about the possibility of those players waiving their NTC's, we'd see a considerable difference of liveliness come Feb.26th.
So here are some suggestions to mitigate the effects of this flaw (IMO):
- - Teams should be limited in the number of players to which they can grant no-trade clauses. This would force teams into only giving NTC's to their star players, thus making it much more interesting come Feb.26th.
- - Assign a cap value to a NTC - charging the no-trade clause against the cap would ultimately cost the teams more money, making them think twice before unloading them on half the team. (Thanks Scoop)
If you don't like that, there's always my suggestion - eliminate it. Doing this ensures a no-safety zone for all players and, come Feb.26th, a frenzy of trades would occur. Do the players really need that stability? This is something they surely considered when they chose this career path, so the lack of it won't come as a huge surprise to them.
You can find a list of all the players with NTC's here: http://www.thefourthperio...de_deadline/notrades.html