1. At first, $5.5 million/year struck me as a considerable overpayment.

2. On reflection, it’s a slight overpayment….but the Leafs had no choice but to make said overpayment.

3. It’s laughable to think the Grabovski deal with create “cap issues” for the Maple Leafs this summer, next fall, the next summer, and the fall after that.

4. Those cap issues are related to the contracts of (sit down for safety..): Mike Komisarek, Colby Armstrong, Matthew Lombardi, Tim Connolly, & John-Michael Liles…ooh, AND the fact that if they’re ever to make the playoffs, and (gulp!) advance in them as 59 different hockey collectives have done since the Leafs last did, they may need to spend money on a goaltender.  Good luck there.

5. Grabovski held all the power and all the leverage in this negotiation — so of course the Leafs overspent…and it was the only course of action.

6. Once Ales Hemsky got $5 million a year (again, NOT a crazy
overpayment given market tendencies and comparable players/ages), the writing was on the wall Grabovski would do a tad better.

7. Admittedly, Grabovski got a year more than ANYONE expected in a 5-year deal, but that may be as much the Leafs wanting to keep control of him that long (until he’s 33).

8. This deal is NOT like Jason Blake’s.  Blake was 34 years old when he started his Maple Leafs’ career, plus Grabovski is already a proven commodity with the team and certain linemates, and is only 28 years old.

9. Saying that, Grabovski is NOT Ryan Kesler…and Kesler signed an RFA deal and as Kevin Bieksa AND both Sedins have done, Vancouver (like Detroit) has created a culture where players are
willing to take less money to have a shot at the Stanley Cup, a culture non-existent in Toronto.

10. If you think Ryan Kesler’s not making $6.5M a year with the Canucks at the end of his deal, or even $7.25M on the open market assuming his numbers and advanced stats hold, you’re crazy.

11. It is NOT significant Phil Kessel makes LESS money now than Grabovski on the cap.  In two years, whether with Minnesota, Colorado, or even staying in Toronto, he will not.  Kessel by current parameters would probably command a UFA deal or hometown deal to stay in Toronto of $49M over 7 years.  He’ll be 27 (or so) when he signs it.

12. I’m lost as to why people compare RFA deals to UFA deals.  The UFA deals are the only ones where you can command significant raises and exert leverage over your employer, in this case an NHL team — so who wouldn’t do as such with the threat to go to market on July 1st…this deal was played brilliantly by Team Grabovski.

13. It does present an interesting RFA dilemma for Nikolai Kulemin, who will be a 26-year old this summer, going from a 30-goal season to a potential single-digit goal season, other stats be damned.

14. Kulemin’s paid to convert chances — you wouldn’t NOT pay him if he DID convert tons of chances, so you CANNOT pay him if he isn’t — I see a 2 or 3-year deal for Kulemin this summer between $2.6M and $3M.

15. Don’t forget, Grabovski came off a miserable season into RFA status and Burke locked him in at $2.9M, even with rumblings Grabovski would potentially hightail it to the KHL for more money given he, at first, seemed a miserable fit in Toronto.

16. Some have asked why Grabovski never plays with Kessel — Ron Wilson told me in more than a couple radio interviews that both players NEED the puck, and there’s probably a ton of truth to that.

17. Best potential offensive season I could ever see for Grabovski would be a 35-40-75 type year.  I think a point-per-game is well out of his reach unless his status within the team changes AND he’s playing #1 PP minutes every night…which currently he isn’t.

18. This signing makes it more than certain that a Maple Leaf player will be “buried” on the Marlies next season, just as the 4-year Jeff Finger contract runs out….I feel it’s a lot more likely to be Matthew Lombardi or Colby Armstrong than it is Mike Komisarek.  Komisarek will play with the big club and every single night next season, if healthy.

19. Remember, Lombardi and Armstrong would be in the AHL for only one season and the Leafs then free from the chains of their deals — Komisarek would take two more seasons, thru 2013-14.

20. The Leafs have these 12 forwards under contract next season for a cap hit of $38.2M — Kessel, Connolly, Lombardi, Armstrong, Grabovski, MacArthur, Steckel, Lupul, Bozak, Brown, Colborne, Kadri.

21. That forward group doesn’t include RFAs Kulemin, Frattin, Rosehill, or UFA Crabb.

22. If Colton Orr stays in the AHL, his $1M for next year’s final year of his deal won’t count against Leafs’ cap — Darcy Tucker’s $1M continues to for next year and the year after….soooo, that’s good, right?

23. The Leafs have 6 defensemen under contract next season for a cap hit of: $22.2M — Phaneuf, Komisarek, Liles, Schenn, Gunnarsson, Gardiner.

24. That group does not include Cody Franson, and I think it’d be a huge mistake to either trade or not sign Cody Franson.

25. In contrast to the Leafs cap hit on defense, the Red Wings best 6 D-men cost them $19M, the Rangers $11.3M (won’t last long, getting bargains for McDonagh and Del Zotto, and to some extent, Marc Staal), and the Penguins $16.2M.  News to NO ONE: you could easily claim the Leafs top 4 paid defensemen are ALL overpaid, not just Komisarek.

26. The Leafs are only committed to James Reimer next year in goal at $1.8M — Gustavsson is a UFA and is a longshot to be back, and Scrivens an RFA who almost certainly is back with the Marlies. (The UFA goalie market is complete rubbish and MUCH worse than last season when Bryzgalov, Emery, Mike Smith, Theodore, and Biron all found new homes…and obviously Anderson extended in Ottawa while Elliott landed in St. Louis.  I don’t know what Burke does in goal next year.  How could anyone?)

27. Leafs have (rough math) $62.2M committed to one goalie, six defensemen, and twelve forwards with four key RFAs to potentially bring back.  If the cap doesn’t go up (umm, we’re all even still hoping there IS a season), the Leafs will have no choice but to send loads of money to the Marlies if they can’t trade some of it away.  REMEMBER, they’re the team that always could TAKE money back in a cap system.  Now with Burke’s rancid 3-4 contracts, they’ll have to hope someone else does the same.

27.5 One thing I can guarantee you next season is the Leafs are hot after a great UFA talent in……

2 Responses to “27.5 Sentences About The Mikhail Grabovski Contract”
  1. 1.

    NONE OF THE CURRENT PLAYERS ON THE LEAFS ROSTER WILL BE WITH THE TEAM WHEN THEY BECOME A CONTENDER IN 2016.

    - Brian S.
  2. 2.

    Please stop with the rational analysis supported by evidence.
    Write with generalities and an
    ax to grind like other sportswriters.

    - Vincent
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