You know too many players are given no trade clauses when Martin Ruchinsky has one.
You read that correctly. Yes, Marty Ruchinsky hasn't retired yet, and he has a no trade clause in his contract.
There comes a point when the NTC's hamper a team. Just ask the Leafs or the Lightning.
Brian Engblom just wrote an excellent blog on the topic, and it really got my gears going. I was going to comment, but it just got too long, so I thought I'd post it here.
As a Blues fan, I remember the reported reason why Hull didn't sign with St. Louis and opted for Dallas - the Blues wouldn't give him a no trade clause. Hull didn't want more money. He wanted to finish his career in the city he built hockey in, and he hopefully wanted to bring a Cup there.
To me, players like Brett Hull exemplify the kind of player that deserves a no trade clause. In fact, from his situation, I've come up with a few rules for giving out no trade clauses.
1) First of all, NTCs should be rare. And by rare, I mean one player per team every decade or so. One poster on the Engblom blog pointed out that they should be held in almost the same regard as a retired number - only given out to a special kind of franchise player.
2) There should be a minimum tenure to earn a no trade clause. A lot of people proposed this idea, and I think this an excellent way to set forth an objective criterion to my first idea. A player should be a part of the team for at least 5 years before they are eligible for a NTC when they resign.
3) There should only be one NTC allowed per team. Think about it. There's one guy on every team that would never be traded, ever. Everyone can think of that one player on the team that has the ultimate respect of the fans and his teammates. Steve Yzerman was a player like this. A guy like Joe Sakic comes to mind. And, yes, Mats Sundin fits this bill. The NTC is an honor that should be reserved for players of this calibur - not Marty Ruchinsky. Once this player retires, or opts not to have the NTC in his contract, the team is free to use it in negotiations with another player. Of course, it goes without saying that the player with the NTC would be free to waive it if he chose, allowing a team like the Leafs to trade Sundin (if he wants to leave.)
Over the years, it seems, the NTC has evolved into a form of job security. A player settles into a city, and understandably, he doesn't want to move his family around.
But, at the same time, business is business. Hockey players make a lot of money, and in my opinion, trades are part of the job. Professional people all across this country have to deal with jobs being moved around the country, and they typically make a lot less than a hockey player. So, as much as I sympathize with the desire to stay in one place, I think trades are a risk you assume with the job, which is why only the top leaders on the team should be graced with a NTC