The Maple Leafs have forfeited a fourth round draft pick and $500 000 for paying Swedish defenseman Jonas Frogren a $750 000 signing bonus this past summer, part of which he used to buy out his former contract at Swedish club Farjestad.

The draft pick in question is suspiciously the one Brian Burke creatively acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 4th. Could have this been the league’s way of allaying some upset personnel? There’s the chance that Burke knew of this impending punishment and acquired the pick at the deadline for that reason, but one wonders why the deal was passed initially in November if it violated the CBA.

From TSN:

“Frogren signed a two-year contract with the Leafs last July and this decision by the NHL will not impact his contractual status with the team…

Sources say the Leafs have been fined $500,000 for paying Frogren a $755,000 signing bonus which violated the CBA. The Maple Leafs will also have to pay an additional penalty in the form of a draft pick.

It’s believed Frogren used a portion of the signing bonus – $400,000 – to get out of the final year of his contract with Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League.

The issue surrounds the amount Frogren received in the signing bonus as the NHL deemed Frogren to be an entry level player at the time.

According to sources, Toronto didn’t agree with the leagues stand and paid the large signing bonus anyway.

‘We can confirm that the Toronto Maple Leafs have been sanctioned by the league for violations of league rules in connection with the club’s 2008 signing of Jonas Frogren, and that one aspect of the league-imposed discipline requires the forfeiture of the club’s fourth round draft pick in the 2009 Entry Draft (previously acquired from Tampa Bay). We have no further comment on the matter.’ “

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