Previously, I wrote an article analyzing the five NHL players I felt most worthy of a No Trade Clause. In reality, I think the NTC is overused, far too many mediocre players have them, and they have the potential to hurt clubs in the short and long term. I’d rather see them disappear completely than to see the amount being injudiciously doled out in the NHL at this time. Regardless of my views, NTCs are here to stay, and in my opinion there are only about ten players that deserve one. Ironically enough, five of the players I feel are deserving of a NTC don’t have one. I’m convinced I made a strong argument for the five players I feel are worthy of a having a NTC built into their contract, and now I’m going to do the same for those players that don’t have an NTC built into their contract but absolutely deserve one.
5. Drew Doughty/Jonathan Quick – LA Kings
I know, a tie. Cop out, right? Problem is, both deserve a No Trade Clause and neither have one. In fact no one on the Los Angeles Kings has a NTC except the newly acquired Marian Gaborik, and that NTC came from a deal signed with a previous club. Doughty and Quick form the backbone of the Los Angeles Kings’ entire team. The Kings are filled with an abundance of talent, but without Doughty patrolling the blueline and Quick (who in my opinion is the best goalie in the league) in net, the whole system falls apart.
Quick makes the saves, Doughty moves the puck up the ice and the Kings play their tough, defensive style to perfection. This was no better witnessed than when they won the 2012 Stanley Cup, with Quick also winning the Conn Smythe trophy. Quick has also been nominated for the Vezina Trophy and is a two-time Olympian. For his part, Doughty is on pace to score over ten goals for the fourth time in his six-year career. He also contributed 16 points in the 20 games it took the Kings to win the Cup in 2012.
Internationally, Doughty has won gold with Canada twice, both times being as dominant against the world’s best as he is in the NHL. Critics may argue that both players are too young, that perhaps being a major part in winning a Stanley Cup isn’t enough, but without Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick, the Los Angeles Kings immediately cease to be perennial Stanley Cup contenders.
4. Shea Weber – Nashville Predators
Ask any GM in the league what makes a championship team and they’ll say ‘defence’. Ask any GM the type of defencemen he would most covet and it would probably be a 6’4’’, 233 lb hard-hitting rugged one, who can also shoot the puck over 104 mph. Essentially, someone like Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber. Weber is a menacing, defensive-minded, and offensively gifted blueliner. He’s of the Rob Blake and Chris Pronger lineage. Throw in some Derian Hatcher-style nastiness as well and you have Shea Weber. He can defend, hit, fight, and score. He is the quintessential all around NHL defenceman. Weber has scored over 15 goals five times in his seven NHL seasons; one of those times he scored a whopping 23. Weber is so important to the Nashville Predators that the cash-strapped franchise had to match the Philadelphia Flyers’ $110 million, 14-year offer sheet, an offer sheet that is the richest in NHL history in terms of total money, money per season, and length. The Predators had no choice but to match that deal. If he’s worth that much money, he’s worth a No Trade Clause.
3. Marian Hossa – Chicago Blackhawks
Odd choice? Perhaps, but Marian Hossa makes any team he’s on that much better. He makes any line he’s on that much better. He’s played over a thousand games in the NHL, his points per game during his career is .91 and his +/- is a whopping +208. As he’s developed and matured over his career, Hossa has become a two-way forward much in the same vein as Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg; his defensive abilities are what creates his offensive chances. Finally, and most importantly, Hossa has been to four Stanley Cup Finals with three different teams in six years, two of which he’s won. It’s no coincidence that his presence on Pittsburgh, Detroit, and finally Chicago made all three of those teams better, and Hossa was the final piece of the puzzle to help them advance to the finals. On a Chicago Blackhawks team loaded with stars, Marian Hossa may fly a little under the radar, but make no mistake: without him, the Blackhawks lose depth, defence, natural scoring ability, and most importantly quiet leadership. Hossa leads on the ice with his play, and he is an indispensable member of the Blackhawks. That’s why he is deserving of a No Trade Clause.
2. Henrik Lundqvist – New York Rangers
As far as goalies go, Lundqvist is the obvious, and perhaps only choice. He’s arguably been the best goaltender in the league over the past decade. He’s amassed 300 career wins and 49 shutouts. His career Goals Against Average is 2.27, while his career Save Percentage is .920, quite remarkable for a guy who plays for the haplessly managed New York Rangers. The Rangers have not had a truly competitive team since they won the Stanley Cup in 1994, and yet they are still always in the playoff hunt because of Lundqvist. Lundqvist has essentially had a different team playing in front of him every year, and yet he gets the job done and helps keep the Rangers competitive. Despite his unorthodox, deep in the crease style, he stops pucks. There’s a reason he’s been the Rangers’ MVP seven years in a row and was nominated for the Vezina Trophy five times, one of which he won. He’s also been nominated for the Hart Trophy. There is no better or more valuable goalie in the league to his team, and for that, Henrik Lundqvist has earned a No Trade Clause.
1. Henrik Zetterberg – Detroit Red Wings
While researching the players that deserved and (I assumed) had NTCs for my article, the Detroit Red Wings’ Henrik Zetterberg was easily in the mix to take one of the top three spots. Guess what? He doesn’t have one. In tandem with Pavel Datsyuk, he forms the most dominant duo in the NHL. His points per game total is .94 a game. Zetterberg is extremely offensively gifted, but not only that; he’s exceptional without the puck. His career +/- is +165. He was named the Red Wings second European born captain, succeeding Nicklas Lidström after he retired. He’s been nominated for the Calder Trophy, the Selke Trophy, and after Detroit’s 2008 Stanley Cup win he was awarded the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP finishing with 27 points in 22 games. Internationally, he’s also a member of the Triple Gold Club. If there’s anyone in the league without a No Trade Clause who is deserving of one, it’s Henrik Zetterberg.
So there you have it. The five (ok, six) players in the NHL who I feel have done enough for and are valuable enough to their teams to deserve a No Trade Clause. Add the previous five players I wrote about who do have NTCs and these 11 players are it. I can’t think of a single other player who either does or doesn’t have an NTC that deserves one. But please, feel free to disagree.