Now that Steve Yzerman is heading up the Detroit Red Wings, let’s hope he doesn’t dole out as many no-trade clauses (NTCs) as his predecessor, Ken Holland. After all, Holland was the king of NTCs.
That may seem like hyperbole, but the fact of the matter is that the Red Wings have nine players on the roster with various types of NTCs. 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. Ideally, Yzerman 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. NTCs only require player approval for a trade. These clauses do not prevent buyouts, though.
Red Wings with NTCs
In all, nine 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 in 2018, it came with a NTC for the final season.
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.
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 four, 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. As of now, he sits 14th among forwards with regard to average time on ice. If nothing changes, the Red Wings could shop their alternate captain next season if they so choose.
Like Abdelkader, Helm’s contract has a full NTC that voids based on team and player performance:
- 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 would be voided between June 15, 2019, and the 2020 NHL trade deadline. Both scenarios came to fruition, so Helm technically does not have an active NTC this season.
- 2019-20 – Same criteria and his NTC is voided between June 15, 2020, and the 2021 NHL trade deadline. As of this writing, Helm ranks 10th in terms of average time on ice among forwards.
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.
Now in his second tour of duty with the Red Wings, Filppula has a full NTC that runs through Jan. 31 of next year. But once the calendar turns to February, Filppula can submit an eight-team list of destinations he’d like to avoid. This is the only NTC that Yzerman has handed out.
After the Red Wings failed to trade Green as a rental during the 2017-18 season, they now have another opportunity. Starting Feb. 1, a 10-team no-trade list comes 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.
After four years of a full NTC, the Red Wings finally have some leeway to move Ericsson. At the beginning of last 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 in 2017, he negotiated a modified NTC after bouncing around with a few teams. The first season came with a full NTC. Last season, however, brought some change 10 days prior to the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline. Now, Daley has a 15-team no-trade list, which will be active throughout the remainder of this season.
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 has Stanley Cup experience, which is coveted every spring.
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 Yzerman can begin shipping players out. And, with the Red Wings going through another subpar season, perhaps some of these players would be willing to waive their NTCs to play for a contender if one gives Yzerman a ring at the trade deadline.
Will any of these Detroit Red Wings players be traded this season? Comment below with your thoughts.
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