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The Myth Of The “Untouchable” Player/Prospect

January 31, 2012, by

The term “untouchable” is often tossed around on Twitter, on blogs, and around the interwebs in many different forms. “Untouchable” is a term that fans have given to players they have either grown attached to, think are special in some way, or are vital to the organization’s well being. In the business that is hockey, there is no such thing as an “untouchable” player. Everyone can be had in the right deal. Including the most important player the Rangers have had since Brian Leetch: Henrik Lundqvist.

Now, will Lundqvist be traded? Absolutely not. But let’s say the Red Wings came calling for Hank, and they offered up Jimmy Howard, Henrik Zetterberg, and a top prospect for Lundqvist. Only a fool would say no to that trade. We all love Lundqvist, but in this case, I make that trade. Remember: emotions have no place in the business of the game.

“Untouchable” is a phrase that is used for prospects as well, which is mind boggling to be honest. I again use the Bobby Ryan for Chris Kreider scenario. Ryan is proven, and still young. Kreider is still unknown, and at his absolute peak is what Bobby Ryan is today. If the Ducks ask for Kreider for Ryan, you make the trade (assuming the other pieces make sense of course).

The phrase “untouchable” is a phrase used by those who have formed emotional attachments to players, prospects, and picks. Any player, any prospect, or any pick can be had in the right deal. It is a general manager’s job to evaluate all possible trades and determine the best path for his team’s success. If that means trading the captain, or the top prospect, or the heart of the team, then so be it. It is the cost of doing business in the NHL.

Actually, the more I write this post, the more I realize there are a few players that are “untouchable”. Those are the players with no-movement or no-trade clauses. They are “untouchable” because they can’t be moved without their approval. But even then, they aren’t really “untouchable”, they are just more difficult to move.

Is there an end to the madness that is the phrase “untouchable?” Likely not, but might I suggest saying “It would take a big overpayment to get that player.” Much like the Lundqvist example above, the Rangers aren’t moving him unless there is a huge overpayment. No general manager would make that trade, but it’s a trade that would make Hank very, very movable. No one is “untouchable.” Period.

Categories : Rants


  1. RangerSmurf says:

    “The phrase “untouchable” is a phrase used by those who have formed emotional attachments to players, prospects, and picks.”

    This is the crux of it. All you need to do is look at how many trade offers have Erixon included, even if he’s more highly regarded around hockey circles than any of the ‘untouchable’ guys that the Rangers actually drafted.

  2. ArtyFan says:

    I’m a fool and I would say no to that trade for Hank. What would you got old high paid Zetterberg, good goalie and name their top prospect. I say it has to be a fool to accept this trade. Hank is best of best and what you got?

  3. Section 121 says:

    This blog is untouchable – nice post

    How about Wolski for Gagne?

  4. Zen says:

    Amen, brother!

  5. Section 121 says:

    Ok, new GM armchair move;

    cut/demote Wolski
    call up MZA


    Give MZA a fair shake in the top 6! 8 minutes per game for 3 games in the bottom 6 this year was not a good look especially after his strong preseason — AND I think he’d help the PP just as much if not more than any previously proposed trade would…

    • Dave says:

      I’m not a fan of MZA, so I’m biased. I’d prefer looking for an upgrade in the top-six, which forces Mitchell out of the lineup.

      • RangerSmurf says:

        I’d rather see Rupp pushed out of the lineup, but I get that he is liked because he has experience and beats on things.

        • Blueshirt in Paris says:

          I could see Rupp being sat depending on the match-ups. But against a Boston team I would like to have him on the ice.

          • Steven Z says:

            Leave Rupp in and take out Prust. Take away his SHG’s last year and a pass to Rupp in the winter classic and he has been invisible for over a year

            • Walt says:


              Come on, he was hurt, please!!!!

              • Steven Z says:

                If you look at his career, last year was a complete anomaly. At this point I would sit Prust or Fedotenko. But when compared, Feds has more experience, is a better skater, and has played better this year. Prust’s value has been in starting fights when the game starts. Literally any player can do that.

  6. Walt says:

    I beg to differ with your point, there are no untouchables!

    A healthy Crosby, before his concussions, would never be moved for any money. Scott Stevens, Malkin, Rocket Richard, Jean Believeau, just to name a few that would never, ever been traded, so are, or were these players Untouchables? Your darn right they are, or were, and in his youth, was Brian Leetch ? Enough said!!!!!

    • cnp says:

      He’s just saying that for the right price, as absurd as it could be, any player could be traded. If the ducks offered us Perry, Getlaf, Ryan and their first draft pick for the next 3 years of Henrik you have to say yes to that

    • RangerSmurf says:

      Scott Stevens wasn’t traded persay, but he was moved from STL to NJD as compensation for STL signing Shanahan. Also, NJD was Stevens’ 3rd team, so not exactly an immovable player.

      Richard and Beliveau played for the most part in an era with 6 teams, and forgive my lack of expertise, but I believe no free agency either. Not exactly comparable conditions.

      Gretzky was traded. If he can be moved, anyone can. Using similar example to Dave’s ludicrous one, if Ken Holland got hammered tomorrow and offered Datysuk, Zetterberg, Kronwall and say, Jurco tomorrow for Crosby, you can expect darn well that Crosby’s on the move.

  7. The Suit says:

    Saying there’s no such thing as “untouchables” is as ambiguous as saying there are. Everything is subjective. There are no right or wrong answers.