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Leafs to use compliance buyout on Grabovski

Jul 4, 2013, 12:32 PM EDT

Mikhail Grabovski Getty Images

In a move that caught a lot of people by surprise, the Toronto Maple Leafs have decided to use their second and final compliance buyout on center Mikhail Grabovski.

Grabovski had four years remaining on his five-year contract, with a cap hit of $5.5 million. The buyout will cost the Leafs $14.3 million over eight years.

“I would like to thank Mikhail for his contributions with the Leafs over the past five seasons,” said Toronto general manager Dave Nonis in a release. “This was not an easy decision to make as Mikhail made numerous contributions to our hockey club. This is a roster move that will give us salary cap flexibility moving forward.”

The buyout comes after Grabovski suffered through a frustrating season offensively, scoring just nine times with seven assists in 48 games. In 2010-11, he had a career-high 29 goals. In 2011-12, he scored 23 times.

One possible explanation for the 29-year-old’s fall in production is that he was used in more of a defensive role in 2013, as the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle explains.

Whatever the rationale for cutting ties with Grabovski, the move does open up a significant amount of cap space for Nonis, who still has to negotiate deals with restricted free agents like Jonathan Bernier, Nazem Kadri, Carl Gunnarsson, and Cody Franson.

It could also mean the return of center Tyler Bozak, an unrestricted free agent, and/or the pursuit of UFAs like David Clarkson or Stephen Weiss.

As for Grabovski, with a dearth of quality centers on the market, he’ll receive no shortage of attention in free agency.

Related:

Leafs buy out Mike Komisarek’s contract

Leafs looking for Dave Bolland to play expanded role

  1. elvispocomo - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    They must really love Bozak (and think he’ll re-sign). I’d put Grabovski as one of their best centers, even if he was a little overpaid. I guess trading for Bolland and the emergence of Kadri (also still to be signed) made him expendable though.

  2. ethanmacleod1685 - Jul 4, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Wow if only SJ could find the cap room for this guy, we need a top 6 winger badly

    • ethanmacleod1685 - Jul 4, 2013 at 1:41 PM

      He could replace Havlat as he plays wing

  3. gobucky1 - Jul 4, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    He’d look real nice as the 2C wearing the Indianhead!

    • koredan - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:36 PM

      He really would. I don’t see how they could swing it, but I really wish they could, because man, would that be fun to see.

      And personally, the only thing that would make me less angry at my stupid team for dumping him would be my smart team picking him up. Ugh, the Leafs make it hard to be a fan of them. Thank god for the Hawks.

  4. 19to77 - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Aaaand one more contender for the Red Wings’ #2 centre appears.

  5. joeandcambria - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Wings would be a logical fit, especially with Datsyuk here after they played in Moscow together.

    • withseidelinn - Jul 4, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      Grabovski played great with Datsyuk during the lockout. Would be an ideal fit.

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