LeBrun: The Weight of Being Bait for the Trade, From Sundin to Giroux to Kane, Toews

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that we routinely underestimate the human side of things when it comes to the trade deadline.

This is not fancy hockey. It’s real life.

And when we talk about the possibility of some players moving before the deadline, you might be surprised at the impact that will have on the players involved, as is evident from the candidates.

for example, Claude Giraud a year ago.

We talked all season about his potential trade out of Philadelphia. He was an unrestricted free agent suspended, and Flyers I’m out of it, and he clearly wasn’t in the cards to extend him given where the franchise was headed, and the opposite is true for Giroux given the next steps in his career. There seems to be mutual agreement on the need to part ways.

So for months, we’ve had Giroux trade updates. I know I submitted my stake, here and at TSN’s Insider Trading, before the deal actually went through, and sent Giroux to leopards Two days before the deadline. It’s a deal that didn’t shock anyone.

But it amazed me, when I listened to the veteran striker, now with SenatorsSpeaking last week while appearing on my podcast with Ryan Richoge, I returnedHow hard that moment was for him.

He knew it was coming. It felt like a fait accompli for several weeks. But it was still difficult to pass. The fact that the trade occurred right after his 1,000th game with the Flyers obviously added to the feelings.

Specifically, I was asking him how he thinks Patrick Kane And Jonathan Toews affiliate Blackhawks You might feel things as we get closer to March 3 because they, too, only played for one NHL Team – and they have the same agent in Pat Brisson, who will be involved because, just like with Giroux a year ago, both players have full no-move clauses.

“It’s tough, especially when you play in one team your whole career. I always thought I was going to play in one team my whole career,” Giroud said. it was hard. The night I knew it was going to be my last match, it was my 1000th match – so many mixed feelings.

“I was horrible that game. I couldn’t concentrate at all. With my mates and the guys I’ve played with for so long, I wish it had been a more fun night. It wasn’t that fun. It was very emotional. Mentally speaking, it was tough. I had two days to relax.” Before the actual trade happened, so that was fine. But it was… you play 14 years in one organization and that’s all you know, it was hard.

“I’m not sure where they (Ken and Tose) are, but like it or not, he’s in the back of your head and you think about him every day.”

You think about it every day. This is often the opposite of what we hear from players in this situation, because naturally, they don’t want to let that burden them. But for some players, like Giroud so clearly a year ago, that is clearly the case.

And this is normal, especially for a player who is facing his first trade.

It is also a reason people should understand when a player decides to use leverage for a no-trade clause. This is his negotiated right.

I remember the reaction of many maple leaves Years ago, when they were outraged or at least disappointed that Mats Sundin wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause before the 2007-08 trade deadline, with the Leafs not in a playoff spot and his contract expiring. It was clear that the Leafs roster was going for an overhaul, but Sundin couldn’t see himself leaving his team. was their leader. The idea of ​​being a hired player was foreign to him.

I remember covering this story as it unfolded. Interim Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher asked him Thursday before the deadline to consider a waiver. Sundin took the weekend to think about it. And Sunday night, two days before the trade deadline, he gave his answer, including issuing a statement via his agent.

“I have carefully considered the team’s request to waive the no-trade clause,” Sundin said in the statement released by J.B. Parry. “I always thought I would finish my career as a Toronto Maple Leaf, so the actual request was still very difficult for me. I’ve talked to and listened to my family and those close to me on the matter. In the end, there is no right decision in a situation like this.

“I can’t just leave my teammates and join another ice hockey club at this time. I never believed in the concept of a charter player. I think winning the Stanley Cup is the greatest thing you can achieve in hockey but for me, to appreciate that, you have to be part of it.” The whole trip that means from October to June. I hope everyone will understand and respect my decision.”

good for him. Most players in that position see the thrill of going trophy-chasing on a rival, but Sundin at heart couldn’t leave the Leafs in the season no matter what the standings said.

And Fletcher, he said, respected that decision.

“Look, when people sign contracts, both parties are happy with it when they sign it,” the Hockey Hall of Fame manager said to me that night. “The club were happy to give the player a no-trade and the player played it – what can you say? It’s the business of the sport. So we’ll live with it, we’ll move forward and we’ll do what we can to start moving the club forward.”

The point is that the player has the right, with a complete no-trade clause, to make this call and does not owe the organization a darn thing. It wasn’t Sundin’s obligation to help the Leafs begin their rebuild by becoming a charter player, any more than it was within Giroux’s rights to restrict the Flyers’ trade options and eventually choose the only destination he wanted in Florida.

This is also why we need to respect whatever Ken and Toyos decide before March 3rd. Maybe they want to stay put and wait until July 1st to decide their future through free agency. Maybe they pick one team they’d like to go to. Perhaps they are open and allow a number of teams into the fray.

Who knows what they will choose in the end? It’s their call.

It’s also a reminder of why NHL front offices shouldn’t be tackling non-trade clauses like they’re the mints you get after a meal at a restaurant. They are not negligible things.

In a hard restrictions system that includes limited player pay, complete no-trade and no-move clauses are important levers for players, especially players in the final year of their contracts.

The Flyers were very respectful of Giroux’s non-trade clause last year. GM Chuck Fletcher did not try to pressure the captain to expand his roster. But it clearly reduced the yield.

And you get the feeling the Blackhawks approach this in the same respectful manner as longtime players in Kane and Toews. Bryson and GM Kyle Davidson seem to know how that could happen, either way.

Meanwhile, if all this wasn’t weighing enough on every player, Kane is now out of the squad with an undisclosed injury. It seems like something he’s hoping to make a comeback from soon, but that’s definitely worth keeping an eye on in case it’s a recurring type of injury and his health could play a factor in his decision on the trade deadline. As of now, it doesn’t seem like anyone involved thinks that will be the case, but we’ll see how he fares when he returns.

Brisson has yet to have a deeper business conversation with Kane, which was scheduled for sometime this month, and I think the injury situation is putting some delay in it.

But if Kane or Toews decide to move on before March 3, just remember that while the rest of us will feel like the most obvious of what happened, the player will likely feel like their world has been turned upside down. , regardless of the chance to go chasing the trophy.

And if any of the players, for whatever reason, looks like Sundin and decides to terminate his contract in Chicago, I hope no one holds it against him. It is their right.

(Photo by Claude Giraud: Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images)

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