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.

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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. You can contact him at [email protected]
  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ FreddyG

    Now now Alec, coal may not look like much but it serves useful purposes like keeping your star player warm and taking faceoffs and some other stuff.
    Fuck Bozak.

  • Beleafer29

    With players to move and holes to fill, Nonis will get us what we need to make our team competitive every night.  We don’t need big names just big effort to get us back to the playoffs.

    Hard to say how far we had gone had they won Game 7.  Lets hope they are all wondering that, and that is their motivation to return and make some noise.  Any pieces added now will better this team IMO!!!
    Go Leafs Go!!

    • Optimustic

      Beleafer29 We’ll never know how far they would have went, but we do know how well they played and the effort they put into the game.   It was great while it lasted, and it gives us hope moving forward.

  • Bobsyouruncle

    Good blog. I agree, Bozak SUCKS!!!!!

    • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ FreddyG

      Bobsyouruncle Is there a price you’d keep him at?

      • Bobsyouruncle

        @FreddyG Bobsyouruncle It’s getting hard to say because this whole fiasco is bringing out some serious Bozak hate in me. Clearly he’s not a 1C and not worth anywhere near the money and even though we think he could be a 3C we’ve never seen him in the role for a short period of time never mind 82 games. But if I had to put a price on it, $2.5-$2.75M and at that money there’s a case to be made that MacArthur might be a better fit. Personally I’d rather just move on.

        • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ FreddyG

          Bobsyouruncle There’s no chance he’ll be a cost effective 3rd line center anyways when he’s spent so much time on the top line and will be expected to be paid like it.

        • Optimustic

          @FreddyG Bobsyouruncle We have Bolland and J-Mac for 3rd & 4th line centres already.   I don’t dislike Bozie at all, but he sure doesn’t fit here at anywhere near his asking price.  I also feel it’s time to move on.

    • LeafsForLife

      Bobsyouruncle I think say good bye to Bozak and sign Gordon cheap is the best route to take.

      • Bobsyouruncle

        LeafsForLife Bobsyouruncle Yep, I rather go Clarkson, Gordon at this point. although it will probably be something no one has discussed.

        • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ FreddyG

          Bobsyouruncle LeafsForLife Haven’t we discussed every player, available or not, on these boards in the past 2 weeks? 😀

        • LeafsForLife

          Bobsyouruncle LeafsForLife Yes Clarkson i think is the biggest one for me. But Bozak is asking for way too much and I say just let him go. Clarkson and Gordon is the best way to go for sure. I would leave the defence as is unless there is a really good #2D for Dion to play with that we can trade for.

        • LeafsForLife

          Cant edit so, I think Blacker is supposed to be ready. I would give him a shot.

  • LeafsForLife

    Good blog Alec. 
     Any word on who is being considered to take over the Marlies coaching vacancy?

  • LeafsForLife

    Good blog Alec. 
     Any word on who is being considered to take over the Marlies coaching vacancy?

  • Burtonboy

    Can Clarkson be wooed to Leafs?
    http://www.lockerpulse.com/News/Can-Clarkson-be-wooed-to-Leafs-S7394644/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

  • Burtonboy

    Can Clarkson be wooed to Leafs?
    http://www.lockerpulse.com/News/Can-Clarkson-be-wooed-to-Leafs-S7394644/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

  • Optimustic

    The only free agent the Sporting news has as likely to come to TO is Zidlicky.   Not sure if they’re credible or not though.  http://www.sportingnews.com/nhl/story/2013-07-02/nhl-top-free-agents-vincent-lecavalier-flyers-ilya-bryzgalov-nathan-horton-danny/slide/25

    • Burtonboy

      Optimustic look like the bleacher report the way they have that slideshow thingy . Seems to be very speculative so I wouldn’t put much stock into what they’re saying here

    • Burtonboy

      OptimusticLooks like the bleacher report the way they use that slideshow thingey . Seems to be very speculative so I wouldn’t put much stock into what they’re saying here

      • Optimustic

        Burtonboy Optimustic I thought the same thing, I was expecting a pop – up asking me to pay for the site when I opened the slideshow, like it does on the Bleacher report.

      • Optimustic

        Burtonboy Optimustic I thought the same thing, I was expecting a pop – up asking me to pay for the site when I opened the slideshow, like it does on the Bleacher report.

        • Burtonboy

          Optimustic Burtonboy I’ve seen the site before but never paid much attention to it to be honest. I have no clue how reliable they are

        • Optimustic

          Burtonboy Optimustic Nor I, BB.   I believe they have a magazine in the news stands if I remember correctly, I’ve never bought it though.

        • Optimustic

          Burtonboy Optimustic Nor I, BB.   I believe they have a magazine in the news stands if I remember correctly, I’ve never bought it though.

  • Burtonboy

    Johnston: Uncertainty hangs over free agency

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/johnston-uncertainty-hangs-over-free-agent-window/

  • Burtonboy

    Johnston: Uncertainty hangs over free agency

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/johnston-uncertainty-hangs-over-free-agent-window/