The National Hockey League has been engaged in some pretty heavy talks with the National Hockey League Players Association over the past several weeks as they try to iron out a return to play scenario and, perhaps more importantly, terms on a new collective bargaining agreement. That new collective bargaining agreement is expected to bring several new changes, including things like guaranteed participation in the Olympic Games, but some of the most interesting changes for hardcore hockey fans will be the ones the league is expected to make in regards to trade deals.
Details regarding those talks have begun to leak out and there is even talk that the NHL and NHLPA would be very close to making an announcement regarding a new deal shortly. Things are not official just quite yet but among the changes believed to be on the table are two new rules regarding trade deals in the NHL, specifically changes around conditional draft picks during trades as well as changes to player protections in regards to no-movement and no trade clauses.
First, when it comes to conditional draft picks teams will no longer be allowed to attach conditions relative to a player re-signing with the team that acquired said player. For example when the Buffalo Sabres dealt forward Evander Kane to the San Jose Sharks, the Sharks gave up their first round draft selection the following year when they signed Kane to a new contract off the heels of that trade. Similarly the 3rd round pick the New Jersey Devils acquired from the Arizona Coyotes as part of the Taylor Hall trade would upgrade to a 2nd if Hall re-signs with that team, teams will no longer have the option to include such clauses. The NHLPA felt that this damaged the value of a player, and it makes sense given that the team loses picks if they do indeed wish to retain said player, and so that rule will be no more.
The decision regarding no movement and no trade clauses is also a very interesting one and has some recent examples that would have changed drastically as well. Currently players who waive their no movement or no trade clauses would lose that protection when dealt to an opposing team, unless that team agreed to retain it, but that will no longer be the case even if a player's clause has yet to kick in on his contract. For example defenseman P.K. Subban was traded by the Montreal Canadiens to the Nashville Predators just days prior to his trade protection kicking in, and the Predators were able to trade him again to the Devils just a few years later because they had declined to pick up that clause. Moving forward players in Subban's situation would retain that trade protection and therefore have more control over their future, also making it harder for the teams that acquire those players to trade them.
The way I look at it this simply increases the risk to teams when they make a trade deal and I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing as long as it doesn't impact the willingness of NHL general managers to make trade deals.