Reports are out today that the Calgary Flames went ahead and re-signed forward Curtis Glencross to a new deal.  I wasn't exactly expecting that to happen.  The Flames have a bunch of money tied up in other players and have some key guys like Alex Tanguay to ink.

Bob McKenzie has the specifics at four years, 10.2 million dollars which works out to a 2.55 million cap hit.  I'm actually surprised by the number as I thought he could have snagged around 3 million on the open market.  Something to the tune of a Colby Armstrong contract.  It's also why I thought Calgary should have moved him, but if they can keep him at 2.55, great.

What I am very surprised to see with the contract is another one of those darn "no movement clauses", cue the rant.

The NMC is pretty much the bane of my existence, or it would be if I were a NHL GM.  I understand NHL players are people, and as a result of being people like you or I; they have families they don't want to uproot and move in the event of a trade.  However, that's the business they got into and there should be some understanding of that.  That said, it wouldn't even be that big of a deal to me if only a few players had them, NMC's not families.

In my opinion, a NMC is something you need to earn, kind of like Free Agency.  The difference is, the NMC should be reserved for the elite players in the league.  I'm talking about, to keep the Flames reference, Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff.  Players that have achieved that elite level and are the centre-point from which you build a team.

When you have 10+ NMC's on your team... problems will arise.  The Flames are a perfect example as they could certainly do with moving a couple of the guys on NMC's to clear cap space and get some potentially valuable pieces for the future in return.  Instead, Jay Feaster needs to go through the process of asking players to waive the clause, which isn't too bad if the player agrees, but what happens if/when they decline to drop it?  Feaster now has a player he can't move and the player is likely to be a little disgruntled because he's being shopped.

How many times have we seen teams get burned by the NMC?  I'm guessing there are bunch we haven't even heard about.  Some teams have been annoyed by the clause more than others of course, *cough* Leafs *cough*.  Though anything that causes the Leafs problems does give me a good chuckle, I'm not ready to forgive the rampant use of the NMC.  

{EDIT} Kelly and I were talking about this in the newsroom today and another point came up.  It's not just teams that hold the contracts losing out.  Dany Heatley would have been in an Oilers uniform if not for his no-trade clause.  Teams that are "less desirable" find themselves at a disadvantage.  Not just in free agency, but now in trades as well.

So why has this dastardly line on contract papers become so prevalent?

While I can't provide you a definitive answer I would look towards the salary cap as a major facilitator.  While I love having a salary cap in place and I think it saved a bunch of small market/Canadian teams from moving, it has had some unintended side effects.  First and foremost after the Kovalchuk debacle would be the now nearly quashed front end loaded contracts to step around it.  Yes, I'm looking at you New Jersey.

Another one is the explosion of NMC's and NTC's in recent years.  With the salary cap, players are more likely to get moved either in hopes of creating cap space or for draft picks in a league that keeps on getting younger.  So you can't really blame players hoping for stability in an increasingly tumultuous league.  The other thing an NMC represents, is a non-monetary incentive for a player to sign.  In English, it doesn't actually affect the cap.  If you're looking at resigning with a club, take Glencross for example, would you take $450,000 less to ensure you won't be traded in two seasons?  To a family man, that would look pretty attractive.

So the team makes a withdrawal at the NHLBNMC (National Hockey League Bank of No Movement Clauses, which needs a shorter name) for the here and now, but what happens when you could ship a player, like Glencross to a Cup contender for some draft picks to help out?  Very possible no dice on that one.

I always hate it when people rail about the problems with something then leave off with no solution.  While the opinion of a sports broadcaster in Northern Saskatchewan likely won't garner the attention of those involved with the upcoming NHL CBA negotiations, here is my suggestion.

-Every team is limited to two 'no movement clauses' (NMC) and two 'limited no trade clauses' (NTC).

-Deals with NMC's are limited to four years.  

-After two years, the team and player (through mutual consent) have the option to shift the NMC to a limited NTC for the final two years.  The same applies for the final year of the contract.

-Limited NTC's can only come into play with a player that has signed a NMC and has his status shifted. (no player can sign into a NTC)
I suspect those limitations on NMC's would draw the ire of the NHLPA, so I have another option.  Assign a cap value to a no movement clause.  So it isn't affected by the yearly shifting of the salary cap, make it a percentage of the maximum cap and actually a significant value.  

With the proper value in place, it puts teams in an unwanted pinch if they want lots of NMC's and could attract more Free Agents looking for stability to teams that are well under the cap and may not have had a chance at those players before.

What do you think of no movement clauses?  Am I on to something with my suggestions or is it wishful thinking?  Will Pirates of the Caribbean 4 be any good?  Let me know in the comments section.


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