Vancouver and the NTC

Cam Davie
August 31 2009 10:25AM

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Mike Gillis has too many players and too much salary on the Canucks roster, and must shed a little of both before the October 1st deadline. However, the ideal players to trade away have no-trade clauses in their contracts.

That's a problem for Gillis, because he has to convince players to waive their NTC. Right now, how do you convince a player to leave Vancouver and the Canucks?

No-trade clauses are not black-and-white. They do not mean that a player absolutely CAN NOT be traded. A no-trade clause means that a player must first provide his blessing to be traded or moved. Many no-trade clauses come with provisions, such as pre-approved teams to which the player agrees to be traded. So they're set in stone, but it would be awfully difficult to convince someone on the Canucks to waive their NTC. The team is improving, they made it to the second round of the playoffs last year, and they are poised to repeat that success this year. In its pre-season predictions, The Hockey News has slated the Canucks to repeat as Northwest Division champions. Plus the city of Vancouver is arguably one of the cities in which to play and live in the league.

So why would any player agree to leave this?

The issue for Mike Gillis right now is that the ideal players to trade all seem to have no-trade clauses in their contracts. Sami Salo is 35 and injury-prone. With the Canucks youth movement, and with a surplus of defencemen, he would be the first one on the trading block. Pavol Demitra has failed to live up to his billing. He is also winding down his career at 36 and is holding down a spot on the top 6 forwards, where the Canucks really need to upgrade.

Both Salo and Demitra are in the final year of their contracts and are set to become unrestricted free agents next year. For Gillis, if he wants to trade them now, he needs to tell both players that he has no intention of re-signing them next year and they don't fit into the Canucks long-term plans. If either of them are interested in playing somewhere longer, they should agree to be traded where they could sign an extension with their new club and continue their career. Gillis has to use this tactic, otherwise I can't see either player agreeing to leave.

It's time to start the spin-doctorin', Mike. October 1st will come sooner than you think.

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