The Detroit Red Wings and no-trade clauses (NTCs) simply go together. Like Steve Yzerman and leadership or Nicklas Lidstrom and perfection, it’s a match made in heaven.
That may seem like hyperbole, but the fact of the matter is that the Red Wings have doled out 11(!) NTCs to players presently on the roster. When discussing the topic at hand, The Hockey Writers colleague Kyle Gipe joked, “(Red Wings general manager Ken) Holland gave those out like candy at one point.”
With Detroit rebuilding, it seems like an odd time to have so many players with contract stipulations preventing movement to varying degrees. Ideally, Holland should be free to pursue trades that will improve the organization’s future regardless of which Red Wings player is dealt.
So how paralyzing are these NTCs? Let’s dive into how these clauses work, which Red Wings can control their destiny, and the actual trade details contained within each player’s contract.
How NMCs and NTCs Work
The most recent NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) outlines the stipulations for NMCs and NTCs. According to the CBA:
[Standard Player’s Contracts] containing a no-Trade or a no-move clause may be entered into prior to the time that the Player is a Group 3 Unrestricted Free Agent so long as the SPC containing the no-Trade or no-move clause extends through and does not become effective until the time that the Player qualifies for Group 3 Unrestricted Free Agency.
In other words, entry-level and bridge deals cannot have NTCs or NMCs. In addition, if a player agrees to waive his clause in a trade, it is up to the acquiring team whether that NTC or NMC continues or is voided after the trade is completed.
As for player movement, an NMC prohibits any sort of trade, waive, or loan of a player without their consent. Per the Vegas Golden Knights (and eventual Seattle) expansion draft rules, players with NMCs also must be placed on teams’ protected lists as well, but can be asked to waive their clause and be exposed in the draft. An NTC only requires player approval for a trade. These clauses do not prevent buyouts, though.
Red Wings with NTCs
In all, 11 Red Wings have a NTC in their contract, with some providing full coverage and others, partial. Let’s take a look at their individual circumstances.
When Dylan Larkin signed his new, five-year contract this summer, it came with a NTC for the final season.
More details on Dylan Larkin contract. Breakdown by year:
18-19: $1 million signing bonus. $5.75 million base
19-20: $7 million base
20-21: $4.75 million
21-22: $6.75 million
22-23: $5.25 million (no-trade clause)
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) August 10, 2018
The NTC includes all teams, unlike the modified NTCs you’ll see below. Due to Larkin’s age, he is not eligible to receive trade protection until the 2022-23 campaign, when he’s the ripe old age of 26(!).
For the first two seasons of Frans Nielsen’s tenure in Detroit, he had a full NMC in his contract. Now, he only has a modified NTC for trade protection. The center has a 10-team no-trade list, but otherwise can be freely dealt to the 20 other teams if one wants to pick up his hefty contract.
Detroit’s speedy forward signed a four-year contract extension back in 2015 that came with a full NTC in the final two years. Now in the last season of the deal, Nyquist can control his destiny if the Red Wings choose to shop him as a high-impact rental at the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline. It would not be surprising to see the winger waive his clause in order to play for a contender.
When Abdelkader signed his often-criticized seven-year deal, it came with a full NTC for the first four years and a modified NTC during the last three. Now in year three, he has full say in any trade proposal. But when the modified NTC kicks in, things change completely. Per CapFriendly:
If Detroit misses playoffs or Abdelkader is not among the Top 9 (forwards) in TOI, he can be traded to any team – clause resets in each of the last 3 years.
As a rebuilding team full of young talent up front, it’s entirely possible that Abdelkader’s NTC is voided for at least one of the last three years. Then, the Red Wings could shop their alternate captain if they so choose.
Like Abdelkader, Helm’s contract comes with a full NTC that eventually turns into a time- and team performance-dependent modified NTC. The quick-footed forward’s modified NTC has more stipulations though:
- 2018-19 – If the Red Wings do not make the playoffs or Helm is not among the top nine forwards in terms of ice time, his NTC is voided between June 15, 2019, and the 2020 NHL trade deadline. As of now, Helm is ninth among Red Wings forwards in terms of average time on ice.
- 2019-20 – Same criteria and his NTC is voided between June 15, 2020, and the 2021 NHL trade deadline.
During the first two years of Helm’s deal, he had a full NTC. But that’s now in the past and Helm could potentially be traded over summer if he’s leapfrogged by another forward for average time on ice.
Now in his second stint in Detroit, Vanek signed with the Red Wings to provide leadership for their prospects. Like Nyquist, his contract comes with a full NTC, which would require the organization to receive Vanek’s permission before any trade is completed. The veteran can, of course, veto or accept proposed swaps.
After the Red Wings failed to trade Green as a rental during the 2017-18 season, they’ll have to wait a while for another opportunity. The defenseman’s new two-year contract comes with a full NTC during the first year and a modified NTC toward the end of the second.
Beginning Feb. 1, 2020, a 10-team no-trade list will come into play. The Red Wings will need to consider said list if they try to trade him as a rental again. Still, there are 20 other teams that Detroit can freely trade Green to at that point.
Like Green, DeKeyser’s contract comes with a full NTC until the tail end of the final year on the deal. Starting on New Year’s Day 2021, DeKeyser will have a 10-team no trade list that the Red Wings will need to abide by. Until then, the defenseman will need to approve any deal involving him.
Detroit’s long-time defenseman has a modified NTC, which kicked in prior to the 2017-18 season. Kronwall has a list of 10 teams that he can be traded to, though a swap would be highly unlikely given his standing within the organization and the likelihood that the 2018-19 season will be his last in the NHL.
After four years of a full NTC, the Red Wings finally have some leeway to move Ericsson. At the beginning of this season, the Swedish blueliner submitted a 19-team no-trade list. If any of the 11 remaining franchises want Ericsson, Detroit can freely ship him out without his prior approval.
When Daley signed with Detroit prior to last season, he negotiated a modified NTC after bouncing around with a few teams. The first season came with a full NTC. This season, however, brings some change starting 10 days prior to the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline. Then, Daley will provide the Red Wings with a 15-team no-trade list, which will be active throughout the remaining time on his deal.
As Detroit rebuilds, they’ll have the opportunity to trade the veteran rearguard if they desire. Daley is well-respected in the locker room and his agility fits the Red Wings’ style of play, so he may not be dealt even after the organization has the ability to do so.
While the Red Wings are handicapped with self-inflicted NTCs, they do have some wiggle room to move players out. Of course, it’s never ideal to let mediocre veterans determine their fate, but Holland can begin shipping players out soon. And, if the Red Wings go through another subpar season, perhaps some of these players would be willing to waive their NTCs to play for a contender if one gives Holland a ring at the trade deadline.