Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rob Blake's No Trade Clause

There have been few trades this season, even as the trading deadline approaches. The most significant trade has been Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore going to Ottawa. A lot of the trade deadline rumors have centered on who will and won't waive their no trade clauses.

Fans are often upset by players who won't do absolutely anything to help their teams; including giving up the rights they bargained for in their contracts. One interesting case in point is Rob Blake of the Los Angeles Kings. Los Angeles is in last place in the NHL. Blake is in the last year of his contract. He is a 38 year old future Hall of Famer who could possibly help a team in a playoff run. His trade could help the Los Angeles Kings obtain some assets to improve the team. The problem is Blake has a no trade clause. It has been announced that Blake does not want to waive his no trade clause. This is an understandable position for him. Likely, he will have to uproot his family next year as he is an unrestricted free agent this summer and doing it again for a few months of a stretch run and potential playoff run is a big pain and he would rather not bother. Naturally, some Los Angeles Kings fans are unhappy.

We can compare this to the end of Blake's previous stint with the Los Angeles Kings. In 2001, Blake was also approaching unrestricted free agency and he made it known to the Kings that he wanted to test his value on the open market. He was not willing to negotiate a new deal. The Kings told him that this meant he would be traded by the trade deadline. Blake willingly accepted that. Blake was traded to Colorado with Steven Reinprecht for Adam Deadmarsh, Aaron Miller, Jared Aulin and two first round draft picks (Dave Steckel and Brian Boyle). Los Angeles is still seeing dividends from that trade as it appears Boyle will be a solid NHL player. Blake went on to win the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche. He played in Colorado for four more seasons before returning to Los Angeles as a free agent. Los Angeles fans were upset by Blake's decision to be traded in 2001 and they are upset by his decision to not be traded in 2008.

No matter what Blake does it is wrong in the fan's eyes. His only purpose in life should be to help out the Los Angeles Kings. Any other interest in Rob Blake's life does not matter.

For another look at the ridiculousness at how some media members (and fans) treat no trade clauses look to this Scott Burnside article where he suggests that if Sundin won't accept a trade, the Leafs should intentionally cause problems. They should strip him of his captaincy and refuse to resign him. A move which would tell the world that no matter how good you are for the Leafs (Sundin is their all time top scorer), when the team no longer wants you, they will callously throw you away. Good luck attracting top talent if you have that kind of a reputation.

The no trade clause is an example of how media speculation is fueling some crazy fires. It has fans upset at players for not giving up rights they bargained for in good faith. It has members of the media speculating at how petty teams should voluntarily ruin their chemistry as a result of this. I guess the media wants to write about trades at the trade deadline. When they don't happen they must write vindictive pieces to fill their place and blame anyway who stands in the way of the trade they want.

1) We agree that it makes no sense to get upset with a player for exercising his contractual rights. Many players get a NTC instead of more $$.
2) Its also possible that Blake is wanting to force a sign and trade? Either way, he's earned the right to say no.
Most people don't realize that the no trade or no movement clause is in lieu of more money. Heatley, Spezza, Phillips, Volchenkov and even Alfredsson many years ago took less money to stay with the Senators so long as they would get a no trade clause to guarantee they would stay with the Senators. The Senators could easily be spending $2 million more for those guys if they didn't take a discounted rate so I hope Sens fans realize this a few years down the road when the team tries to trade one of them but can't get the player to waive his no trade clause.

The only team I could see Blake possibly accepting a trade to is the Ducks, but they aren't really in need of another defenseman. But the truth is he wants to be a King and it seems he wants to be a part of the Kings organization after he retires.
Have to agree with the "His purpose in life should be to help out the Kings" sentiment. Fans expectations in this are just plain wrong and to an extent they were wrong in 2001 and with every time he touched the puck as an Av and fans booed.

The contract struggles, the things he did in 2001, like rip the C off his jersey, have left fans with a very cloudy view of his career, calling into question whether he really is Hall-worthy not to mention worthy of a jersey retirement.

Rich Hammond's take on it (Blake has become a pawned off King) would say not just that fans' vision of Blake has been clouded since 2001, but maybe ever since he first donned the sweater.

Anyway, my guess is he's not traded and resigns (hopefully for less than the $6 mill. he makes now) with the Kings for another year or two.
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