Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY SPORTS
It looks like Toronto’s power move to keep the cost of one of their restricted free agents down to a minimum may pay off after all. Leafs forward Peter Holland cleared waivers this afternoon, just an hour after the details of his arbitration hearing leaked out to the media.
Peter Holland arb:
Team offer: $900K. Player ask: $2.1M
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 23, 2016
Holland’s ask is just slightly under his expected value, which we projected to be about $2.2 million last week. This means, so long as the Leafs can find a roster spot for him, they’re probably walking away with a solid deal when all is said and done. Finding that roster spot, however, might be a challenge with the long list of already signed players fighting for spots.
There are two trains of thought as to why the Leafs placed Holland on waivers yesterday. Some feel that it was a posturing move; one where they could argue that a player that nobody else would claim for free isn’t worth a big payday. Others felt it could have meant that the team couldn’t find a trade partner and were trying to move him before the arbitration process, fearing that he would have a large ask that would still be below the walk-away threshold.
While he is below that threshold (teams can only walk away from player-elected arbitration awards when they’re over $3.9 million), the fact that his own request is so far below it leads me to believe that this situation falls under the former scenario. Teams aren’t exactly itching to make waiver claims in July, especially when the player’s terms are unknown. If I had to speculate, the Leafs likely felt that the cap space gained by using an aggressive bargaining tactic like this had a greater value than the low pick they’d get from moving him, making a risk of losing him for free a calculated and logical one.
Barring a pre-arbitration settlement, we’ll find out just how much money he gets on Monday.