Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Fifteen steps, then a sheer drop

The NHL trade deadline is exactly eight weeks away and the Leafs have finally made their first move under Burke.

Gak. It's a 6th rounder for Brad May.

I do belive I called this one back on November 12 although I was only aiming for a cheap and easy punchline. The odds of a sixth rounder turning into a NHLer are pretty small, although it's likely about the same odds that May will do anything of note for the Leafs before he hits UFA status in June.

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that this move will generate more speculation into Brian Burke's intentions and efforts than the Kennedy assasination (Conspiracy A Go-Go really is the ultimate source on all things JFK) and the future of the North American auto industry combined.

With that in mind, I wanted to post two things today.

The first is the limited information I could find regarding no-trade (NTC) and no-movement clauses (NMC) on the Leafs that Burke will have to deal with.

The second was cap formulas to get a better understanding of how a trade might go down.

NTCs and NMCs

I've been hoping one of the 173 people that cover the Leafs full-time as a paid gig might look into this, maybe call the team, the agents for Hagman, Kaberle and Kubina or send an email to the NHLPA, I know I'm talking crazy, but one can hope...

This is what I was able to turn up from NHLSCAP, old radio interviews with JFJ and searches through the Globe and Star. Only three players on the Leafs appear to have trade limitations:

Niklas Hagman - has a N0-Movement Clause for the first year of his contract with the Leafs. The clause expires after year one.

Tomas Kaberle - has a No-Trade Clause. It's believed that if (let's face it: when) the Leafs miss the playoffs, there is a window in the summer during which Kaberle can be traded without his consent. If it's the same time period as identified in Kubina's contract, the trade window is July 1 to August 15. Sadly, that's 10 days after the entry draft.

Pavel Kubina - has a modified No-Trade Clause. According to various sources, he can only be traded to a list of pre-specified teams (no word on who submits the list or the number of teams it includes/excludes). Last year, there was a window between between July 1 and August 15 where we could have been traded without his consent, it's not clear if that was a one-time window or if it opens every summer if the Leafs don't make the playoffs.

I could find no other references to any of the other Leafs having NMCs or NTCs.

Cap Space, Cap Hits and Further Evidence That Math is Hard

The second challenge facing Burke as he tries to transform the Leafs is the lack of trading partners with cap space.

With nearly a third of the league hard against the cap and another third up against self-imposed budget limits, the Leafs are likely going to have to take on near dollar-for-dollar salary commitments in order to complete a trade. (Not to make things un-necessarilyl complicated but the NHL salary cap is actually calculated on a daily basis. Team's cannot exceed a per day salary limit of $296,858.64. Nik Antropov, for example, would cost a team $10,732.98 per day in cap space.)

In short: Leafs Nation can dream of picks and prospects, but the reality is most trades are likely going to bring back some ugly contracts.

What's with the post title? Click here.


  1. Anonymous7:00 pm

    Here's what confuses me. I distinctly remember reading that The Wild and Crazy Guys could be traded at the draft although I do remember that last year Kubina's NTC was waived July 1.

    God forbid someone with contacts give us a scoop.

  2. MF, I'm still going with "if."

  3. Anonymous10:45 am

    Interesting post, Mike. I hadn't heard that Kaberle's contract allowed any trades whatsoever. If that's true then it's indeed possible he might accept a trade at the deadline, if Burke tells him that he either accepts the trade at that time to go to a contender, or he'll ship him out to Columbus in the summer.