Cash or Pass – The Grabovski Chronicles

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    With just over a week to go until free agency, a certain Maple Leaf RFA by the name of Mikhail Grabovski is drawing some interesting attention from the management. The 25 year old who cost the Leafs a 2nd and a prospect last summer is seeking a contract of 3 to 5 years at $3.5M to $4M per season. This is essentially a breakdown of what he offers. Please leave a comment with your perspective of his demand after reading his specs and other information.

    Mikhail Grabovski

    Height: 5’11”

    Weight: 185lbs

    Age: 25

    NHL Stats: 08/09 78GP 20G 28A 48P 92PIM -8 0.167 Shooting %

    All-Time:  150GP 23G 34A 57P 100PIM -14  0.155 Shooting %

    He’s a fast player with incredible hands, but he does tend to lack a finishing touch. This past season he started off great but, as many other Leafs, he went into a slump that seemed to have lasted until he played the Canadiens again. That said, he has always been intriguing to watch as he is damn near unpredictable.

    Pros:

    Speed, aggression, hates the Habs, draws a lot of attention from the Habs, creates chances, is not afraid to go into the corner.

    Cons:

    Lacks a physical game, his size can be an issue, is considered a pest and, at times, un-coachable, and he doesn’t seem to get along with Jason Blake (this point could also be considered a pro, because almost no one can get along with Blake. If they were best friends it would probably be a con).

    Grabovski was hands down one of the most entertaining players to watch on the Leafs last season. While he was not able to get it done at times or step up when the team needed it the post, he is that type of secondary scoring the Leafs have always needed, but now that Sundin is gone, they need primary scoring the team now lacks.

    Grabovski will likely never become a top line player, but at $3.5M is he worth it to keep around and find out if he is the next Maxim Afinogenov or the next Sergei Berezin?  He finished his rookie season just 5 points shy of Kris Versteeg (53) and 9 points shy of Bobby Ryan (57), though Ryan did play 12 fewer games.

    If they do not come to an agreement soon, Grabovski’s rights could very well be traded, perhaps even to move up in the draft or gain additional picks. There have also been speculation that Grabovski would take Burke and the Leafs to arbitration in order to try and hit his desired number. If he does not reach the dollar figure he is comfortable with, the Belarusian is satisfied to leave for the KHL.

    The question is, do you think Grabovski is a 3 to 4 Million dollar player to provide the secondary scoring at center on Toronto’s 2nd line, or is he nothing more than a glorified and more creative Matt Stajan?

    Also, feel free to follow me on Twitter. I’ll be keeping you posted with other tidbits and speculation over the summer, as well as leading up to Friday’s exciting Entry Draft!

    Micheal A. Aldred

    [email protected]

     

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