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Hockey Wilderness
  • Jason Pominville Isn't Waiving His No Movement Clause

    Ben Remington

    Let me paint a picture for you.


    You're a two-time NHL All-Star. You've received votes for the Lady Byng multiple times. You've received votes for the Selke Trophy multiple times. In your eight-year career, you've never had fewer than 50 points in a season since you were a rookie.


    Sounds awesome.


    Now the bad part. You've missed some of the season due to injury. Your team is terrible. With a year left on your contract, you're traded to a playoff team at the deadline. You're 30 years old, uprooting your family to a new home, unsure of what the future holds for you. Imagine the room spinning a bit; imagine Steve Martin's character from Little Shoppe of Horrors over you with a gas mask (for effect).



    But here's the kicker: You're doing alright, you've scored nine points in 10 games with your new team. You're headed for the postseason in two years, feeling good.




    A dirty elbow knocks you into next week -- weeks, almost literally. You miss significant time due to a concussion for the second time in your career, playing in only two playoff games as the eventual Stanley Cup Champions polish off your team.



    It's the offseason, and you're offered a contract to stay with that team. A new home. You like it there, and the contract? Hoo boy, it's nice. The pay is comparable to your last deal, over $5 million per year for five years. You think back to being traded. You think back to all the concussions. You think about your young family. You think about how much you like it here. The team wants you, and you have leverage to leave as a free agent after the next season. You ask for a no-movement clause: no trades, no demotions to the minors without your consent.


    In your first season after signing the contract, you back it up. Thirty goals. Sixty points. Nine points in 13 playoff games. Not bad. But year two isn't quite as good. A slow start -- just 18 goals -- but you still manage 54 points. Six points in 10 playoff games. Not your best year, but not bad. The next season goes worse. Super slow start. Columnists attacking your play. You feel the game catching up to you in a big way. Just 11 goals, 36 points. Your coach gets fired, but you finish strong with seven points in 6 playoff games.


    You feel back on track.


    The expansion talk looms. Vegas is getting a team. You start the season, you're struggling again. You're still snakebitten. Feels like you're hitting more pipes than Cheech and/or Chong. However, you have a strong January, into February, with 18 points in 17 games. The whispers get louder. The team has a promising construction, but will lose a good player to Vegas.


    Who will it be?


    Not you, because you negotiated for that No-Movement Clause. It's a relief. As frustrated as you've been with your own play, you're working hard to get better and it's paying off. You still feel like you have a lot to offer a contending team. You won't be mired in the uncertainty and likely suffering of a losing expansion franchise, no matter how alluring the city is.


    You think back to the concussions again. The trade. Your family. The hard work you put in to deserve that contract and what it meant to you that a team wanted you that badly. In the midst of all of this, you catch wind of folks questioning if you'll waive that clause, and expose yourself to the draft, for the good of the team, to protect more of the youth on the team.



    This attempt to put one in Jason Pominville's shoes was for those hoping that he will waive his no-trade clause this summer. Waive his no-movement clause so that the Wild can protect another crucial forward, whether it be Eric Staal, Jason Zucker, Erik Haula, whomever. Someone more important to the team's future than Pominville, which is a fairly long list.


    I'm not here to declare that people are awful for thinking that, or to demand that Pominville not do it. The truth of the matter is, it's just not that easy. Pominville may be the consummate teammate, but that doesn't mean he has to risk anything on his end to help.


    Could he? Sure.


    Will he? I doubt it.


    Now, you can curse Chuck Fletcher for dishing out the Pominville contract all you want, and that's a fair criticism of the situation. Pommer looked like he was worth the money at the time, for a playoff team that needed scoring punch, and Fletcher had already traded what was considered a King's ransom to get him at the time. But those long, big money contracts almost always have a way of coming back to haunt you, and here we are.


    Maybe Pominville will find it in his heart to waive his clause, and expose himself for the purpose of keeping one of the key cogs around. Maybe he'll get the reassurance that he won't be leaving, maybe he'll get the reassurance that he won't be bought out. Maybe he'll win the Conn Smythe, and all of this will sound ridiculous in four months.




    Until any of those things happen, I'm not counting on Pominville suddenly tossing his collectively bargained rights as a veteran out of a third-story window.

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