Ask any general manager, and they’ll tell you that the main clog in the NHL’s trade pipeline are no-trade and no-move clauses that give players the power to determine their next destination – or, frequently, if they want to move at all.
So ESPN’s Craig Custance had the idea to ask 10 agents about their clients' no-trade lists, to see if there are any commonalities. And lo and behold there was: Mediocre teams in frozen hell-scapes.
1. Edmonton Oilers
To the surprise of no one. A mismanaged collection of young stars who can’t burn hotter than the dumpster fire in which they’re consumed. But it’s the location of the dumpster that’s frequently the deal-breaker.
Writes Custance: “The Oilers have three things working against them: climate, lack of success and being a Canadian team, which is one common characteristic on these lists. Given the choice, agents said, most players don’t necessarily want to play in Canada.”
2. Winnipeg Jets
Keep in mind nearly every contract signed with a no-trade clause was done so before the Jets started tantalizing as a playoff contender. So maybe a few more would want to play there. But again, it’s the “there” that’s the issue. “If you think it’s cold in Detroit, it’s like that for four months in Winnipeg,” an agent tells Custance. “If you have a family, you’re a shut-in. The kids can’t go outside and play. You go outside for 15 minutes and it’s frostbite.”
(No word if that agent was Ilya Bryzgalov.)
3. Buffalo Sabres
Again: Bad team repels players. The market is great, it’s just a lack of success, which obviously could change. “If Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel are playing in Buffalo and they’re the players they look like they’re going to be, guys will want to play there,” said an agent.
4. Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs
The Senators are seen as cash-strapped. The Leafs are seen as a place where players are under a constant heat lamp of media scrutiny like a rapidly shriveling bag of McDonald’s fries. “In that media market, there are too many people trying to cover the same thing and trying to find a different edge,” said an agent.
According to Custance, the runners-up are: New Jersey, Florida (“Guys don’t like going to a place where the building is empty and they can’t win”), Arizona (“Phoenix has been somewhat common, partially because of the instability of ownership the last few years”).
Go read the full article here and read all of Craig’s stuff because even though it’s behind a paywall it’s all worth it.
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