Friday, January 21, 2011

Brian Burke and no-trade contracts

"I've given one no-trade clause in my life and it was for medical reasons to J.S. Giguere. His son had a medical condition that required him going to UCLA medical hospital for years. Other than that, I don't like them. I think they're coach killers."
I distinctively remember when Brian Burke made this comment during his first press conference in Toronto. It was a direct shot at previous GM John Ferguson who had 5 players with no-trade contracts at the end of his tenure, remember the Muskoka Five - Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker, Bryan McCabe, Pavel Kubina and Tomas Kaberle. I thought it was ridiculous because in the competitive free agent market, top free agents expect a no-movement or at least a no-trade contract.

So what do I read in the Toronto Star yesterday? Well the paper indicated that there are five Leafs with no-trade or no-movement clauses J.S. Giguere, Phil Kessel, Mike Komisarek, Tomas Kaberle and Francois Beauchemin. So if the report is true - yes folks the newspapers are filled with errors - this is just another example of Burke saying one thing and doing the opposite. All the Leaf fans expecting Komisarek to be put on waivers and sent to the minors will be waiting a long time for that to happen. If Komisarek has a no-movement clause in his contract then he isn't going anywhere.

So how is Burke so different than Ferguson? He was so desperate to sign Komisarek and Beauchemin to contracts that he threw his own rules out the window during his first summer as Leaf GM. But he hung tough in negotiations with Colby Armstrong and Brett Lebda, they didn't get no-trade clauses.

I'm having a deja vu moment - no draft picks and expensive veterans that can't be traded.

Actually no-trade deals are no big deal. The Red Wings far more no-trade contracts than the Leafs including Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Dan Cleary, Todd Bertuzzi, to name a few. If you sign the right players to long term deals and they perform as expected then why would you want to trade them?

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