Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Marc Bergevin doesn't 'do' No Trade Clauses

Looking at the Canadiens CapGeek page, I noticed that Max Pacioretty doesn't have a No Trade Clause, which I thought was odd, as every player of note on the Canadiens seems to have one.  Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta, René Bourque, Travis Moen, Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges all have NTC's, full or otherwise.

Scott Gomez, Erik Cole and Mike Cammalleri had them as well.  They seemed to be the cost of doing business, if the Canadiens wanted to attract frontline unrestricted free agents.  The previous administration doled them out like candy, it seems.

The Nouveau Régime's first contract on a roster player was for Travis Moen, shortly before the start of free agency.  Travis did get some no-trade protection, but since then, not one contract signed by Marc Bergevin has one: Brandon Prust, Colby Armstrong, Francis Bouillon, Carey Price, Lars Eller, Raphaël Diaz, Max Pacioretty, P.K. Subban, David Desharnais.  None carry a NTC.

I think it was Pierre Gauthier who, while discussing NTC's, explained that these carried a monetary value, and that if a player insisted on one, then the monetary amount of their deal would drop correspondingly during negotiations.  In practice, we didn't really see that.

The Canadiens free agents from the 2009 summer  all seemed to receive very generous offers, more than they could have expected elsewhere.  Mike Cammalleri was famously rebuffed by the Leafs, who thought he was too small, before being showered with millions by Bob Gainey.  Brian Gionta, conflicted by the amount and term offered by Mr. Gainey, but wanting to stay in New Jersey, spoke in confidence with Lou Lamoriello about what he should do, to which apparently the Devils' GM responded by laughing and urging him to take the offer while it was there.

Based on these supposedly non-apocryphal anecdotes, we can see that the Canadiens were offering at the top end of what the market did, and tacked on a NTC for good measure.  Which did nothing to enhance the tradability of some assets in the fold.  The Mike Cammalleri deal, which might have brought in a greater haul had he been shopped around, might be explained by the fact that Calgary was one of the few destinations he would waive his veto for.  There was no market to speak of, because of the NTC.

So the new administration seems to have given in to Travis Moen at the eleventh hour, before he reached UFA status on July 1, but since then they've managed to avoid doing so.  For fans who think that players are too pampered nowadays, and have little or no external motivation to perform, this should provide some level of comfort.

It's laudable that Mr. Bergevin managed to sign Brandon Prust without the NTC, which previously had been the figurative 'free oil changes' or 'bottomless coffee cup' of the sales pitch, thrown in without much resistance, as part of the package deal.

Also, when detractors of Carey Price correctly point out that he has no internal competition for his job, and therefore has little incentive to 'push himself', the lack of trade protection may ultimately deliver this effect.  The thought of Winnipeg or Edmonton might be enough to spur him to work harder, if that had been an issue before.

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