Lubomir Visnovsky Files with NHLPA to Void New York Islanders Trade

Lubomir Visnovsky has been traded a time or two. In 2010 while on a five-year deal he signed with the Edmonton Oilers, he did not elect his no-trade clause to block a trade back to southern California and the Anaheim Ducks. (He'd previously starred for the Los Angeles Kings).

Often in those cases the contract remains but the no-trade protection disappears, for whatever reason (see Dany Heatley last summer). We'll see if an arbitrator determines that's the case here, because multiple reports have Visnovsky filing a grievance with the NHLPA to have his recent trade to the New York Islanders voided. [Previous LHH FanShot discussion/lamenting here]

According to Newsday's Arthur Staple, the grievance will go to arbitration and the Isles obviously "aren't happy." According to reports out of Slovakia and Sweden, Visnovsky and his agent Neil Sheehy don't know if they'll win or not -- but they said the facts are unclear enough that they thought they'd try.

Update: As Ozzy pointed in comments, here's one area it's addressed in the CBA, ambiguously of course, in 11.8:

If the Player is Traded or claimed on Waivers prior to the no-Trade or no-move clause taking effect, the clause does not bind the acquiring Club. An acquiring Club may agree to continue to be bound by the no-Trade or no-move clause, which agreement shall be evidenced in writing to the Player, Central Registry and the NHLPA, in accordance with Exhibit 3 hereof.

Even that, as written, doesn't have a cut-and-dried application to Visnovsky:

  • This is not a case where the NTC had yet to take effect (for example when Jeff Carter and Mike Richards were each traded before their NTC's kicked in).
  • Did Visnovsky's NTC continue in Anaheim? Could it even, or does it vanish once he agreed to a trade previously in the contract, as Heatley's apparently did? Or are there clauses in both Heatley's and Visnovsky's deals that address this, but which we do not know because the NHL/NHLPA doesn't share that except for selectively released details to CapGeek.com?

For Isles fans, this is another depressing case of a veteran player not wanting to join the club. For Visnovsky, it's also a guy protecting his interests and trying to remain in southern California where he's spent 10 of his 11 seasons. (Still...maybe do this when the trade is consummated, rather than a month later, buddy?) Update: Indeed, predictably Visnovsky's agent Neil Sheehy tells Staple it's not about the Isles but about "what's right."

Based on previous trades somehow erasing no-trade clauses -- something that doesn't sound fair, but it's how these have apparently gone -- I don't rate Visnovsky's chances of winning very highly. But I also don't recall another player challenging this murky (and frankly strange) area of the CBA or shadow CBA through arbitration.

If he loses, he can enter the Evgeni Nabokov "This Isn't So Bad, In Fact I Kind of Like It Here" program. The burning question for the Islanders isn't the annoying PR hit this entails; it's what happens on the blueline if Visnovsky suddenly isn't on it in 2011-12.

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