(photo via www.obsev.com)
The NHL already has a problem with no-movement and no-trade clauses. Its out of hand, it’s not only handcuffing teams but it’s drying up one of the most exciting parts of the league: big name trades.
Currently there are 185 no-trade/no-move clauses in the NHL. That works out to an average of about 6 per team. That’s about ⅓ of NHL players who are protected by some sort of movement clause, it’s an even higher percentage once you consider that entry level deals aren’t eligible.
It’s becoming an epidemic, and if the NHL doesn’t do something about this soon, it could get really bad.
That brings me to my next point on this: expansion.
It was reported on Wednesday that players with no-move and no-trade clauses would be exempt from the protected list each team would have to put forward this coming summer. Essentially, players with no-movement clauses don’t need to be protected.
This could create a huge mess during the coming year. When teams go to sign free agents this summer, they’ll be automatically throwing out these no movement clauses because it will save them one spot when it comes time to give their list of protected players.
The NHL needs to do something about this, expansion or not.
The simple solution for now would be to have the NHL say that players with these NMC’s are automatically counted towards your group of 11 reserved players. Which will more than likely happen. This would serve as a punishment for the teams who have handed these out like candy over the past few seasons (Boston, Tampa Bay, Vancouver). Making teams automatically protect these players, or make them seek players permission to be open to an expansion draft, would make it very difficult to protect younger, more valuable players, which would lead to some very interesting trades as teams try to sell off these players.
This wouldn’t punish teams like Chicago, Pittsburgh or the San Jose. While it would put teams like Tampa Bay, who currently have Mattias Ohlund and Matt Carle on their list, in a rough spot for keeping some younger talent.
There is also another way to fix this debacle, which is a long-term solution and would involve a lot more work. I would like to see the NHL limit the amount of NMC’s and NTC’s that teams are allowed. If teams were limited to 5 of these per team, or even 3, it would cause them to stop and pause before giving every free agent they sign some sort of protection.
The most difficult part of this would be how to handle the current clauses and I highly doubt the NHLPA budges on any of that. Any sort of limitation on contracts won’t be dealt with before expansion, that’s a given. But it could play massive role when the next CBA expires in 2022. Something this big could even lead the league to another L*****T.