Grabovski News!

Jonathan Willis
February 09 2012 11:07PM

As a pending unrestricted free agent, Mikhail Grabovski has seen his name pop up in more than a few trade rumours over the last while. Fortunately for those who believe he’s a superb player (and he is, even when he isn’t making much glorious goal), there are solid indications that he isn’t going anywhere.

Of course, news broke more than a week ago that Gary Greenstin was in Toronto, with the natural assumption being that he was visiting to talk to the Leafs about Grabovski.

by the sounds of things, those talks are going well. TSN Insider Bob McKenzie suggested earlier tonight that a trade was highly unlikely, and that there’s a likely outcome to the Leaf’s talks with Greenstin:

“Mikhail Grabovski’s agent, Gary Greenstin, is in Toronto this week. I think it’s safe to assume that there are some negotiations going on between Greenstin and the Toronto Maple Leafs for his client, who is an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. The cone of silence is basically down on this one, but it may or may not get done by the trade deadline. But I believe there is zero reason to believe that Mikhail Grabovski could be traded by the deadline. I don’t even think that’s a consideration. I think both sides understand that they’re in the same universe, that this is a player who could be making in the $5.0 million dollar range. I think that Tomas Plekanec’s contract in Montreal is the most likely comparable. It’s not done, there’s still probably some hard work to go because inside that universe they have to shrink it up a little bit, but I believe they’re in the same place.”

What would a Plekanec-style deal look like?

Montreal signed Tomas Plekanec to a six-year, $30 million contract in the summer of 2010. The contract comes with some sort of no-trade clause, though I haven’t been able to find details on that clause.

Long-term, a $5.0 million per season pact doesn’t really hurt the Leafs. Virtually all of the team’s forwards will have their contracts expire by 2013-14 (the exceptions are impact scorer Phil Kessel and the delightfully cheap Mike Brown). Even with defenders under contract, long-term money isn’t a concern.

2012-13, however, might be a little different. Cap Geek has the Leafs with roughly $13.0 million in cap space next season, which sounds good. Unfortunately, the Leafs need to fill that room with extensions for Grabovksi and Kulemin, a new deal for Cody Franson, a new goalie (or a new contract for Gustavssson) and two other forwards. If the other forward slots are filled by Nazem Kadri and Joe Colborne, that’s almost $3.0 million in cap space gone immediately. Grabovski’s contract would take up half of the remaining room, leaving $5.0 million for Kulemin (or a replacement), Franson (or a replacement) and Gustafsson (or a replacement). It’s doable, but the Leafs may need to find a place to shed some money.

Even so, this is great news for Leafs fans, especially if Grabovski ends up signed long-term.

Bonus Schenn Coverage!

From the same clip, Darren Dreger talks about Luke Schenn:

“Brian Burke says that he has no plan to trade Luke Schenn. Every player has his price, but Luke Schenn is not on the market.”
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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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