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I Choose You

According to the News and Observer this morning, Niclas Wallin has a decision to make. He's been asked to waive his "no trade clause" so that the Canes can trade him (supposedly) to Philadelphia for Joni Pitkanen. Decisions decisions....who will Nic choose, the Broad Street Bullies or the Cardiac Canes? Some people might assume that Nicky will automatically decline this proposal, but most players ask for the no trade provision simply so they will have the power of choice as to where they go, not necessarily so that they will never have to move. That "power of choice" is extremely valuable. Philadelphia isn't a bad place to go. The team is rebuilding, the fanbase is rabid, and there is a bit less road travel involved within the division than there is with the Canes. But the cost of living is somewhat higher and Nicky is a family man, he likes it here. I must admit, I don't see why Nic would accept this offer. Other than spending less time on the road, how would the move benefit him?

If Wallin does say no, then what happens? Does Rutherford turn to one of the defensemen who does not have a "no trade clause", like Commodore or Gleason? I sure hope not. Funny thing is, Flyers' general manager Paul Holmgren played dumb when asked yesterday about trading Pitkanen. "Several teams have expressed interest in a few of our players, but Pitkanen is not one of them, not lately anyway", he was quoted as saying. Uh huh, sure Paul, whatever you say! You've got to love these poker faced general managers!

The Canes were in a similar pickle a couple of years ago when they tried to trade someone else with a no trade clause and they were denied, although I can't remember the exact circumstances and who the involved players were. Maybe someone can refresh my memory? I do remember Rutherford saying that they were going to stop handing out the popular clauses though, because they virtually handcuff a general manager. He hasn't been good at practicing what he preaches. Hedican, Wallin, Stillman, Wesley, Brind'Amour, and most recently Scott Walker all have the "power of choice". Perhaps even more players have the clause and I'm not aware of it. I'm wondering, why give out such a powerful benefit to someone like Wallin? I think Nic is a solid defenseman, but is he good enough to warrant a no trade clause? I think not. These clauses should be handed out only to the best of the best, or under unusual circumstances. They shouldn't be given out to mediocre, level 3 or 4 type defensemen. Don't get me wrong, I like Nicky, but Pitkanen could be the shot of adrenaline that the Canes' blueline needs and Nic is the most expendable. (not counting Seidenberg and Hutchinson) This could be an interesting trade if it comes to fruition, but I think Nic will stay put. How times have changed! Players are now preferring to stay in Raleigh, North Carolina, than play in a "traditional" hockey city like Philadelphia! The Hockey Gods must be turning in their graves!

Robert Palmer