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Faulk’s Comments a Red Flag for Canadian Teams Buying at Deadline

Did Justin Faulk’s comments about not wanting to play in Canada signal a potential issue for Canadian teams buying at the NHL trade deadline?

St. Louis Blues’ defenseman Justin Faulk might merely have been saying what a lot of players are thinking, but his comments still aren’t good news for Canadian teams looking to be buyers at this year’s NHL trade deadline. When Faulk noted, “I’m not looking forward to going to Canada one bit. But we’ll play some hockey games and get it over with and then come back,” it was seen by many in the league as an indication that other players might avoid trades across the border.

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Faulk explained that he likes where things are at in the United States and things going a little differently in Canada is not ideal, in his opinion.

This might not be a huge issue for players who have no-trade protection worked into their contracts, but for bigger-ticket rentals, this could come into play. Elliotte Friedman noted in his most recent 32 Thoughts column, “As I’ve written before, there’s at least one big-time rental who’s indicated he won’t come north of the border. Not everyone will be like that, but it’s a challenge.”

On the flip side, Friedman said, “Might be very good news for Canadian sellers.” What he seems to be getting at is that if Canadian buyers can only work with Canadian sellers — because players on U.S. teams don’t want to come over, it’s a much smaller pond for teams like the Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens and a few others to swim in. If clubs like the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, or Calgary Flames can’t find what they need on American teams because the players refuse to waive their no-trade clauses, these clubs might have to work with the Canadiens or the Senators to get something done. This could allow Ottawa and Montreal to drive up the price on their rentals knowing the Oilers, Leafs and Flames have little choice in the matter.

If Vancouver and Winnipeg become buyers, this is even better news for Montreal and Ottawa as they have more demand for their players.

Does It Really Matter?

The question will become, how much will this really affect the trade deadline? Are there that many players who think the same way Faulk does? If push comes to shove, are these players really going to decline a trade or a chance at the Stanley Cup because they aren’t fond of heading up north?

The one way this might affect things is that buyers might be extra cautious about trading for players they hope to extend to longer deals. A conversation will need to be had that a rental now isn’t going to immediately bail at the end of the year. If that’s their plan, buying teams might only be willing to give up so much to acquire a player that is guaranteed to only be around for a few months.

The only other hurdle might be the price of players the Canadian buyers are already looking at. If Toronto is interested in someone like Ben Chiarot out of Montreal, do the Canadiens up the price for Toronto more than they would someone like Florida?

As for Canada, they did exact a tiny measure of revenge on Faulk when he came up to play the Calgary Flames. Faulk’s Blues got spanked 7-1.

Next: Washington Capitals Interested in G Marc-Andre Fleury

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