In a shocking move early Thursday afternoon, The Toronto Maple Leafs placed centre Mikhail Grabovski on unconditional waivers with the purpose of buying him out.
"@TSNRyanRishaug: Mikhael Grabovski on unconditional waivers"/Buyout coming.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 4, 2013
Should Grabovski clear waivers tomorrow at noon, the Leafs will use their second Compliance Buyout, having bought out the final year of Mike Komisarek’s contract earlier in the week.
Grabovski was coming off a career-worst season in 2013 scoring a mere nine goals and seven assists for 16 points in 48 games and still had four years remaining on a contract signed last offseason that was paying him $5.5-Million per year. The Belorussian is apparently set to get hitched tomorrow in Toronto, and as a wedding present will now be one of the best free agent centres available.
Grabovski, a 5-year veteran of the Maple Leafs, was originally acquired in 2008 for prospect Greg Pateryn and a second round pick in 2010. He played 340 games for the blue and white collecting 208 points while primarily filling the role of a second line centre. In the last three seasons, he was second on the team in points (behind Phil Kessel) with 125.
Ever the ESL charmer, apparently Grabo had this to say:
Via text Grabovski says "Thank you Toronto fans the best!" Will have more later.
— Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) July 4, 2013
With the buyout the Maple Leafs will now have approximately $25-million in cap space with which to re-sign their significant RFAs, Bozak and potentially acquire one or two of the notable UFAs. While this is a terrible move – in my opinion – it does allow the Maple Leafs a lot more freedom financially. Unfortunately, as the case has been since the acquisition of Jonathan Bernier, the Leafs seem incapable of understanding the strength and depth within the organization.
Expect Tyler Bozak to receive his astronomically stupid contract demands soon. More to come.