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Pre-UFA Opens

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If UFA Day is like Christmas, this July we might get the chance to unwrap a few gifts early. At least, hopefully they’re gifts and not 4.5 million pieces of coal for the next 8 years.

The pre-FA negotiation period affords the Leafs the chance to feel out the temperature on certain UFA targets and then, if need be, clear space via the buyout period, which closes tomorrow (July 4) at midnight, or via trade.

The Leafs opened up some cap space yesterday by officially but unsurprisingly buying out Mike Komisarek to save 3.575 million in room (4.5 million – 925k) for the upcoming season. Komisarek’s buried contract was for just one more season at a cap hit of 3.575 million, but the Leafs will need that space if they’re to fill out the roster, be in the bidding for a guy like Clarkson, and then get their glut of RFAs (among them Kadri, Franson, Bernier, Gunnarsson) signed a little later on in the summer.

Dave Nonis has said it is unlikely both compliance buyouts will be used, but he wouldn’t rule it out completely; it likely depends on what they can accomplish in the pre-UFA period over the next few days. Presumably the other candidate for a buyout is John-Michael Liles and his $3,875,000 hit. If he can’t be moved to say, Colorado or NYI (who lost Mark Streit off the back end, bought out DiPietro and are $13 million shy of the cap floor), I wouldn’t have a problem with the decision to buy him out; taking stock of some of the signings across the league, it’s clear a number of GMs are banking on the cap shooting right back up after next season. It may not come to that, though, as the word leaving the Draft was that Nonis is fairly confident he will strike a deal to clear some more space, which is the more ideal scenario as it saves a compliance buyout option for next offseason.

[table “143” not found /]

Italics = My Projection
Includes only 10 forwards and 6 defencemen.

It’s easy to see why Nonis is taking his time with the RFAs (as well as many GMs across the league). It’s a squeeze. Nonis mentioned how it’s been a grind negotiating with players whose agents are still using precedents from a higher cap environment in previous seasons. Across the league many teams are taking their time and pinching their restricted FAs to save on space. I think we may see some of the Leafs‘ RFAs sign a bit cheaper than I initially thought.

No links today, but that’s why we share in the comments anyways. Pop ‘em in below.

Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. Contact him at [email protected]
1189 comments
Reimocerous
Reimocerous

wow I was a little surprised at the Spott signing but I'm not nearly as despondent as many on here are. The sky is most assuredly not falling folks. :)

Kouba
Kouba

I want Vinny...sign Prospal

Pent_House
Pent_House

How do hire the idiot who didn't play Rielly anywhere near enough to coach the Marlies. FML. 

MikeGartner11
MikeGartner11

Really disappointed in Spott selection, because I had intended on hating him forever after the WJC....oh well, high hopes nows....

Wasn't he an assistant when Kadri played for the rangers?

The Rangers have a very good Jr Hockey program (you may never get knights fan to believe it) Kitchener is a top end organization and I hope we grabbed spott for all the right reasons

wiski
wiski

Lind & Arencibia return tonight, Encarnacion will not. #Bluejays

leafmealone
leafmealone

@wiski Same faulty logic. He's paid to be an NHL'er, plain and simple.

And really, more credit than is due. The guy spent a good deal of time down there injured or ineffective. How much impact could he really have had? I appreciate Sparks' intentions, but he barely even played in the AHL so what the hell does he know anyway?

leafmealone
leafmealone

@Reimocerous It's just that we've gone from someone who was excellent at taking our young talent and making them NHL ready, to someone who's more than likely going to totally fail at that job and therefore ruin at least one of our promising young players. Watching him coach at the WJC should have been enough to convince anyone that he isn't capable of stepping up his game, and doesn't know how to alter his approach when it's not working.

leafmealone
leafmealone

@Pent_House Well, with any luck, they show some restraint and leave Rielly to get lots of ice time in junior and then he can make the NHL a year after thereby totally avoiding having this guy ruin him. 

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Garret's a good teammate.

leafmealone
leafmealone

@ingy56Any player arguing against buying out an NHL player costing his team 3.6mil because he's been demoted to the AHL should STFU.

Knights2Leafs
Knights2Leafs

@MikeGartner11 

Oh, we believe it.  The only relief we've had in the Hunter era is with Spott being the head coach.

leafmealone
leafmealone

@wiski Wow, I really wish that it was Arencibia not returning and Encarnacion coming back. JP is back to swinging at balls way off the plate in the worst counts again. He needs some form of shock therapy. He needs to have an electrode in his ass that fires off some serious voltage every time he tries to hit a 500' home run out of a ball that's three feet outside.

Reimocerous
Reimocerous

@leafmealone @Reimocerous Maybe it's just the big stage that overwhelmed him. He seems to have done alright as per his regular team junior coaching. I'm not prepared to wave my hands and cry just yet.

Pent_House
Pent_House

@leafmealone @Pent_House It's good for Crescenzi and Leivo, but other than that, it's a total cluster fuck. This guy better not make the Marlies a bunch of pussies I swear to god. 

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

@ingy56 

PS

My favorite part is Jim Hughson's orgasmic call "and here's Cam Neely to the rescue"

followed by shock and deafening silence

leafmealone
leafmealone

@Knights2Leafs Exactly, without the previous track record of Kitchener making it attractive, and thereby providing Scott with a solid group of players, his tendency to get outcoached on a regular basis would have been too glaring for anyone to ignore. Hunter took him out behind the woodshed every playoffs they met each other.

leafmealone
leafmealone

@-Keon- @leafmealone @wiski So he helped them appreciate what the pro game atmosphere would be like. You don't eat that kind of cap hit on your NHL roster to play house father to young AHL'ers. And I really doubt that Eakins was totally failing at that job anyway.

And all the same, Sparks was barely there for any time. He has no perspective and should just STFU on the issue. Or just leave it at pointing out that he had a positive impact on the kids. You don't argue that the buyout shouldn't be seen as a positive move if you're him. It's out of place and unnecessary at the very least. 

leafmealone
leafmealone

@Reimocerous @leafmealone He had a decent record through his regular seasons because he was coaching a number of very highly skilled teams. But when the playoffs rolled around, he was always beat by coaches that gameplanned against him, and he could never figure out how to counter. He just kept stubbornly trying to do what was working in the regular season, despite the fact that it was being effectively countered. 

whalz
whalz

a few players have graduated from junior...id expect some toughness added to protect some of those...i would think  that RC philosophy would run thru the Marlies aswell.....lets hope for the best

Pent_House
Pent_House

@whalz Clearly they wont change their game, but the coach has a huge effect on the direction of the team. Look at the difference between R Willie and RC. Basically a lot of the same players, and yet they played completely differently. This Marlies team is built mainly around toughness and now I dunno what this guy is going to do with these players. I know Eakins at least loves his physical players. 

Pent_House
Pent_House

@ingy56 @Pent_House @leafmealone Then yea, he would have coached D'amigo during that brief stint as well. It's good that he has familiarity with some of these players, but fuck I don't like this hire. 

whalz
whalz

didnt know a coach could turn tough players into pussies? you think DEVANE is gonna start knitting classes now?

Kouba
Kouba

@ingy56 @Kouba HA I remember, Jim Carrey, right?! And I thought he wants to go fishing...

leafmealone
leafmealone

@rustynail @Knights2Leafs At least the Rangers are just as likely to do no better with a replacement. There's certainly no one I worry about the Hunter's having to coach against.