An updated list of the teams that most frequently appear on no-trade lists, plus the latest on the Maple Leafs.
List of the NHL’s Top “No-Trade” Teams.
ESPN.COM: For the second straight year, Craig Custance polled 10 player agents to determine their top three most frequent no-trade teams. And for the second straight year, the Edmonton Oilers topped the list. The Winnipeg Jets placed second, the New York Islanders were third, followed by the Columbus Blue Jackets in fourth. “Toronto, New Jersey, Calgary, Buffalo, Arizona, Carolina and Montreal” also received votes. Of the two clubs on last year’s list, the Buffalo Sabres were only mentioned once while the Florida Panthers didn’t receive any votes this year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Custance notes the presence of young superstar Connor McDavid and the prospect of a new arena isn’t enough to get the Oilers out of top spot on this list. Only winning will. The city’s location as the league’s northernmost city doesn’t help, but there’s no question a decade of suck is taking a toll.
Same thing goes for the Jets. Yes, they’re in the NHL’s smallest market and among its coldest weather-wise, but they’re also mired in mediocrity and showing no sign of real improvement. The Blue Jackets are also suffering from their many years as an also-ran. The Islanders’ recent move to Brooklyn and the logistics behind commuting there is apparently why they’re on the list this year. Custance cites a source suggesting that could change as more players start living in Brooklyn.
As for the others that received votes, the Toronto Maple Leafs are rebuilding and also in a very demanding market, which are potential turnoffs. Same goes for the Calgary Flames. The Montreal Canadiens also play in a bilingual market with high taxes. New Jersey, Buffalo, Arizona and Carolina are all rebuilding after spending years outside the playoff picture. A lot of players prefer being dealt to contending clubs. Winning makes a team more attractive. That’s why the Panthers aren’t on the no-trade list this season, plus they’re in a warm-weather, low-tax location.
Latest on the Maple Leafs.
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports center Tyler Bozak hopes to remain part of the Maple Leafs’ rebuilding process. However, with two years left on his contract at $4.2 million annually and given the recent changes made by GM Lou Lamoriello , that’s not a guarantee.
TORONTO STAR: Responding to a reader’s question about what moves the Leafs might make if they win the draft lottery and select center Auston Matthews, Kevin McGran believes Bozak or Nazem Kadri will be traded. McGran also speculates winger Joffrey Lupul could join defenseman Stephane Robidas permanently on the sidelines.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL’s James Mirtle also doubts Lupul will be back and will be shocked if Peter Holland also comes back next season. If promising center William Nylander keeps playing well, Mirtle suggests moving Bozak.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Between Bozak and Kadri, the latter could be the easiest to move if the Leafs want to go that route. Bozak’s salary isn’t unwieldy but it still could prove difficult to move via trade. The Leafs reportedly tried shopping him last June but couldn’t find any takers. His modified no-trade clause also complicates things, as does his recent injury history.
If, like Robidas, Lupul is put on injured reserve and told to stay home, the Leafs won’t receive cap relief because it’s not long-term injured reserve. Their salaries combined would be over $8 million of dead cap space.