Can A NHL Player Reject A Trade?

Can An NHL Player Refuse A Trade?

Ever wondered if it is possible for an NHL player to refuse a trade from his team? Or what happens if a player refuses to go to the team he was traded to? Luckily, in this article, we will be looking at trades in the NHL and the punishment for refusing a trade. In addition, we will explore contract clauses that give players the ability to refuse trades.

Can An NHL Player Refuse A Trade?

Can NHL Players Refuse A Trade

Refusing contracts in the NHL is not allowed by players. This is due to the Collective Bargain Agreement (CBA) between the NHL and NHLPA. The agreement does not force players to sign a contract with the NHL. However, it states that players that sign into the league must obey the game’s regulations. 

In addition, in the division of power, the NHL favours the owners of players (the team) with more control over the player’s rights. This means the owner has control over players’ movement and trade decisions. 

NHL who refuse a trade to another team will be suspended and receive no pay. The cases of NHL players refusing trades are not common in the NHL. However, the only way a player can legally refuse a trade, according to NHL CBA, is if the player has a No-Trade Clause or No-Movement Clause in his contract. 

In this article, we will be checking the impact of a no-trade and no-movement clause on a player’s contract. Also, we will cover how it affects a player’s ability to refuse trade offers and its limitations.

Related Article: Basic Rules Of Ice Hockey Explained

No-Trade Clause

About No Trade Clause In The NHL

A No-Trade Clause is a provision in a player’s contract that states that a team may not trade the said player to any other team in the league without his consent and agreement. This means for a trade to occur to another franchise in the league, the team has to receive the approval of the player. 

There are two types of No-trade clauses, they are:

  1. Full No-Trade Clause
    In this situation, the said player has complete control over the team he can be traded to within the league. If a team has a trade offer from any team, the decision to accept or reject the offer is solely based on his decision. 
  2. Modified No-trade Clause
    This makes provision for a player to make a list of teams he can not be traded to. This means that the player is willing can be traded to any of the other teams outside the list he mentioned without his consent or approval. The list of teams a player can’t be traded to is stipulated in the player’s contract. 

Conditions And Limitations of No-Trade Clause

Not every player in the NHL is eligible for a no-trade clause. The primary condition before a player can ask for a no-trade clause in his contract is the age eligibility status. Just like waivers, before a player can be eligible for a no-trade clause, he must have played seven seasons or should be at least twenty-seven years old.

If the player is outstanding and is deemed a valuable asset to the team, then he can be given a no-trade clause can be added to his contract. 

Even though No-trade clauses have a lot of perks by giving players power over their trade situation, it has limitations. The limitation of a no-trade  clause include the following:

  • Although players can not be traded to another team in the team, they can be placed on waivers and sent to a minor league affiliate such as the American Hockey League.
  • The team can terminate a player’s contract with a no-trade clause. This is called a Buyout in the NHL. However, the team will have to pay two-thirds of the remaining contract value. 
  • When a player has a modified no-trade clause, he has to seek the permission of the team before he receives trade offers from any of the teams on his no-trade list. 

No-Movement Clause

No Movement Clause

A no-movement clause is similar to a no-trade clause but comes with extra benefits. A no-movement clause is a provision that states that a team can not trade, waive or send a player to a minor league without the consent of the player. 

It is the most profitable clause for players as they have complete control over their contract as a player.

Similar to a no-trade clause, the conditions for a no-movement clause are the same. The player must have played for seven seasons or be twenty-seven years of age. 

However, unlike a no-trade clause, a player can not be sent to the AHL or any other minor league or even placed on the waiver wire. This is why it is considered to be the most profitable clause that players should negotiate for. 

The only way to trade a player with this clause in their contract is to buy out their NHL contract by paying two-thirds of the remaining contract value (according to NHL rules). 

Why Do Teams Give NTC And NMC?

No-Trade clause and No-Movement clauses are only given to exceptional players that negotiate such clauses in their contract if they are to continue their contract with the team. If a player is not that good or an exceptional talent, his request for a NTC or NMC in his contract might be ignored. 

This is because later in the future, a team might want to trade a player if they feel he is not giving the expected result or if they are unable to afford to continue with his contract. 

Player With No-Trade/No-Movement Clause (2022-23 Season)

NHL Players With NTC Or NMC

Even though NHL give out contract clauses to players, not every player gets these clauses. Therefore, here is a table of players in the NHL with either a No-trade or No-movement clause in their contract.

NHL TeamNHL PlayersClause Type
Pittsburgh PenguinsSidney Crosby
Evgeni Malkin
Rickard Rakell
No-Movement Clause
No-Movement Clause
No-Trade Clause
Seattle KrakensJaden Schwartz
Andre Burakovsky
Jamie Oleksiak
No-Movement Clause
No-Trade Clause
No-Trade Clause
Toronto Maple LeafsMorgan Rielly
John Tavares
Matt Murray
No-Movement Clause
No-Movement Clause
No-Trade Clause
Vancouver CanucksIlya Mikheyev
Oliver Ekman-Larsson
No-Trade Clause
No-Movement Clause
Montreal CanadiensJosh Anderson
Jonathan Drouin
Carey Price
No-Trade Clause
No-Movement Clause
No-Trade Clause
Data From


So this brings us to the end of this article. By now, you should have a better understanding of a player’s contract and how a no-trade/no-movement clause affects the ability of a team to trade or waive a player. 

Thanks for reading.

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