Whether you’re looking for more money, a different contract length, a promise of increased ice time or just more love from your team, you’ve decided to hold out for a new contract. Well, you’re not the first person to try this tactic. Does it work? Will it damage your relationship with your teammates? Will it pay off?
Find the answers to these questions and many more as we look back at some other players who have held out for a new contract!
When you’re talking about contract hold outs, Petr Nedved is as good of a place to start as any. Nedved was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in 1990 and played with the team until 1993. During the summer of ’93 Nedved decided he would like some additional cash and so he held out on signing a new contract with the Canucks. He missed almost the entire 1993-94 season due to the holdout. He signed with the St. Louis Blues in March and the Canucks were awarded Craig Janney as compensation. The Canucks shipped Janney back to the Blues at the trade deadline for Jeff Brown, Bret Hedican and Nathan Lafayette.
The Blues signing Nedved was not received very well around the NHL. A 1994 Sports Illustrated article stated that the deal “particularly outraged NHL rivals because the Blues agreed to pay Nedved $900,000 retroactively for this season, in effect rewarding him for holding out.”
Nedved did so well on that hold out that he decided to try it again a few years later in 1997. This time Nedved was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He sat out the entire 1997-1998 season due to a contract dispute, instead spending his time with the Las Vegas Thunder of the IHL. He stayed with Las Vegas until November of 1998 when he was traded back to the team Pittsburgh had acquired him from, the New York Rangers.
Alexei Yashin is well-known for his tumultuous relationship with the Ottawa Senators. Before the 1995-96 season began, he refused to honor his contract as he wanted to be the highest-paid player on the team. Alexandre Daigle had that honour at the time and Yashin felt that he deserved more. Despite saying that he would never play for the Senators again, he eventually returned to the team with a new deal in tow. Yashin was later named captain of the Senators.
However, it didn’t take long until he held out again. During the summer of 1999 Yashin again demanded a raise. The Senators refused and stripped Yashin of the team captaincy in favour of Daniel Alfredsson. They then suspended Yashin for the entire 1999-2000 season. He somehow returned to the Senators the following year and spent the entire season with Ottawa. His rocky relationship in the team finally ended at the 2001 draft when he was traded to the New York Islanders for Bill Muckalt, Zdeno Chara and the second-overall pick that would become Jason Spezza. Yashin went on to sign a huge deal with the Islanders that the team is still paying today.
When you think of players holding out for new contracts, you often think of selfish players who care only about themselves. You don’t think of players like Jarome Iginla. However, Iginla entered the 1999-2000 season without a contract. While he still attended training camp (even buying his own insurance in case of injury) he still missed the preseason and the first three games of the season due to the hold out. He eventually re-signed with the Flames and returned to action. There were fears that he would hold out again in 2002, but that didn’t happen as Iginla decided to return to Calgary. He was named the Flames captain the following season. Iginla is now one of the faces of the Calgary Flames franchise (and a great representative for Scotiabank.)
Many other players have held out over their careers as well and each situation is different. However, looking at Nedved, Yashin and Iginla shows us three different hold outs and three different results for three different players. Neved never played for Vancouver or Pittsburgh again after holding out. Yashin continued to play with the Senators after each of his hold outs, but he was eventually traded from the team. Iginla’s hold out was brief and he’s been a cornerstone of the Flames for years now.
We’ll have to wait and see how Doughty’s situation works out before we can speculate about how it will impact his relationship with the team, the fans and the NHL as a whole.