During the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft on June 22nd, it was announced that Anaheim Ducks defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky had been traded to the New York Islanders for a second-round pick in the 2013 draft. Visnovsky must have been shocked by the deal, because it took him until June 30th to file a grievance with the NHLPA, in which he is seeking to void the trade.
Visnovsky signed a five-year, $28 million deal with the Edmonton Oilers in 2008, which contained a no-trade clause. He waived his no-trade clause at the 2009-10 trade deadline to permit the Oilers to trade him to Anaheim. Visnovsky is now maintaining that the no-trade clause he had previously waived is still in effect under the terms of his current contract. Thus, the Ducks were required to obtain a list of 10 teams to which he would be amenable to a trade before he could be moved. No such list was ever asked for before the June 22nd deal.
The issue will now proceed to binding arbitration, with the Ducks serving as the opposition. If the arbitrator rules in favor of Visnovsky, he will remain with the Ducks and the pick will be sent back to the Islanders. If he loses the arbitration, he will be an Islander for the remaining year on his current deal.
Visnovsky's agent, Neil Sheehy, explained the reasoning behind the grievance to Arthur Staple of Newsday: "This isn't an issue with the Isles. This is an issue for the NHL/NHLPA to decide. He has a no trade clause." Additionally, he said "This isn't about Lubo not wanting to go to the Isles. He likes what they say. This is about establishing what's right."
Whether or not a no-trade clause stays with a contract once it has previously been waived is an interesting and relatively unique issue for the NHLPA and NHL to decide. No arbitration date has not been set as of this publishing, but we will provide an update once a determination has been made.
Tags: Law, NHL, NHL Draft, Sports, Sports Law