Some post-trade deadline ruminations, now that the ice chips have settled:
• No-trade clauses shouldn’t be banned in the next collective bargaining agreement, but they should be made available to a far smaller group. As it stands, you get the right to negotiate for one when you enter the Group 3 unrestricted free agent category (age 27).
In my world, a player would have to be in the Mats Sundin realm, a long-time veteran who has been with the same franchise for a prolonged number of years.
How about this for criteria? In the NHL for 12 years, with the same team for six and age 33 or older? Or some variation thereof.
Personally, I have no problem with players invoking their no-trade clauses; they did, after all, negotiate them in good faith under the current CBA provisions. That said, the handcuffing of GMs in a system that already makes it difficult to move players isn’t good for the fans and, by extension, the game.
• While I do respect Sundin for following his heart, I have a difficult time relating to his decision.
I’m in agreement that capturing a championship as a “rental player” diminishes the achievement. But if winning the Cup is every player’s dream, isn’t a watered-down title better than none at all?
He ain’t winning one in Toronto this year or next, so why not go for it with a contender? It’s telling that Brad Richards, a guy who actually has his name on the hallowed trophy, opted to go to a situation that gave him a shot at another ring.
• If Marian Hossa re-signs with Pittsburgh, will the Penguins become the next version of the Tampa Bay Lightning? That is, a club that has a huge chunk of its payroll invested in three players, leaving little cash to lure surrounding talent? Of course, if they win a Cup as the Lightning did, perhaps it’s a shrewd course of action.
• Officially, I don’t cheer for any of the 30 teams, but between you and me and Cristobal Huet, I’d love to see a Washington-Montreal first round match-up – with the Caps having home ice advantage.
• Fans of the San Jose Sharks are absolutely going to love Brian Campbell. Toiling in small-market Buffalo, he was an under-recognized blueliner and a big difference-maker. It wouldn’t surprise me if this turns out to be the deadline day steal of 2008.
• Could Martin Lapointe be this year’s Brad May? A veteran leader with a strong pedigree (both were first round draft picks in the early 1990s) who knows what it takes to win. Now, if only his 19 new teammates in Ottawa remembered that formula.
• Toronto’s Cliff Fletcher didn’t give an inch in trade talks, he gave 232 of them. In dealing away 6-foot-7 Hal Gill, 6-foot-5 Wade Belak and 6-foot-4 Chad Kilger, Fletcher cleared more space (height, that is) than any NHL GM at the deadline.
• Beware, Washington. We all know what happened to the last team that traded away a kid named Ruth.
Jason Kay is the editor of The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears every weekend.
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