Back in 2005, getting a no-trade clause was a key element in
Still, it didn't take Stillman long to waive it Tuesday morning when Canes GM
"To be on a team that's gunning for the Cup is fantastic," Stillman said afterwards. "I think you'd be dumb not to come to a team like this."
That was the bottom line for the 34-year-old veteran. Finish the season clawing for a playoff spot with the fourth team of his 13-year NHL career or pass Go and move directly to the favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Final. Even with a pair of Cup rings to pass down to his kids, the chance for a third was irresistible.
And that's the thing with NTCs. They don't mean
Nor do they mean that a player has to waive it willingly. For everyone like Stillman, who values a chance to compete for the Cup above all else, there are those who have more pressing concerns.
A chance to join the defending champs -- and a team with a real chance to repeat -- seems like it should be an easy sell, especially to a player who may be taking his last kick at the can. But Weight, and more importantly his family, were very happy playing out the string in St. Louis, a city where they'd established deep ties. After taking one for the team when he was dealt to Carolina at the deadline back in 2006, Weight was more interested in being part of the rebuilding effort, rather than an agent of its expedition. He vetoed the request to waive his NTC.
Of course, we know how far that got him.
There have been whispers out of St. Louis that Weight was approached a second time and given the classic Hobson's choice: Rip up the no-trade clause and accept a move to Anaheim, or prepare to see his ice time whittled down below the nation's savings rate. Not much an athlete can do at that point. It's one thing to stand by your principles. It's another to stick around where you're not wanted.
Weight's mistake may have been keeping the first request private. In Ottawa last week, news quickly spread when GM
Murray, of course, didn't have the leverage to threaten Redden that the Blues had with Weight. With so much riding on a Cup challenge this season, he couldn't afford to upset the applecart...and that's exactly what would have happened if Murray tried to push the popular Redden out of the dressing room.
The situation's entirely different in Toronto with Sundin. The Leafs are going nowhere this year, or any time soon. It would seem like the Cup-less Swede, in the midst of his best season in a decade, should relish the chance to compete somewhere -- anywhere -- this postseason. But he's dug his heels in since being asked by interim GM
That decision seems counterintuitive on the part of a player who hopes to re-sign with the Leafs this summer. There are no guarantees the players or prospects or picks or combination of the three that the team would get in a deal for him would make the Leafs more competitive in short order, but it's fair to say they'll keep treading deep water if they're forced to play with essentially the same roster next season. Comfortable in the city or not, that can't be an appealing option for the 37-year-old.
Sundin's too popular, with the fans and his teammates, to get the Weight treatment. But that doesn't mean Fletcher can't let him know that the Leafs will be moving forward with players who put the team first in 2008-09, and let him read between the lines.
There are other NTC-holding veterans who could change their sweaters by Feb. 26, including
Of course, if their teams decide to play hardball, their current situations may not remain to their liking for long.
Interesting side note to that Sens/Canes deal: Not only was it intra-conference, but it was between two teams that conceivably could meet up in the first round of the playoffs, proving that in a difficult trade market, you can't rule out anyone as a partner if the deal improves your team . . .
The talk of making neck guards mandatory in the wake of
Interesting rumor out of Dallas has the Stars sending veteran
It's not the fact that they have four games in hand on division-leading Dallas, or five on second-place Anaheim, that suggests the third-place Sharks are still the favorites to capture the Pacific Division, it's that they play 16 of their final 26 games on the road. San Jose's been the league's most inhospitable visitor this season, piling up a 17-5-3 mark. The Sharks start a season-long eight-game road trip, including a swim through the entire Atlantic Division, on Sunday....
The deal signed yesterday between