When Stephane Robidas quietly disappeared after preseason, many wondered if there was a handshake agreement between Lou Lamoriello and Robidas that sent Robidas home to Quebec for the season in order for the Leafs to gain cap relief.
However, the Leafs have not gone with the LTIR option with Robidas and his $3,000,000 salary as the Flyers did with Chris Pronger. Instead, Robidas has been on IR all season, perhaps because the Leafs did not want to arouse suspicion of cap circumvention unnecessarily, or perhaps because Long Term Injury Reserve relief only comes into effect when needed (as opposed to wiping out the cap hit altogether).
The report after preseason was that Robidas sustained a knee injury, something he corroborated in an interview last week with RDS. The 39-year-old has not skated since the injury and reports no progress:
“There is nothing new and no improvement. When there is an improvement, at least you have hope. Right now, there is not any, so I’m still waiting to see what will happen.”
Robidas also addressed retirement in the interview:
“(Retirement), that is a word I do not want to hear. I’ll be 39 and I’m sure that the injuries have caught up with me.”
Either way, there won’t be pressure coming from the club about what his decision is going to be. Robidas, signed through 2016-17, may as well bide his time and see if his health improves. For cap purposes, the retirement option does not solve the issue due to the fact that the Leafs signed him when he was older than 34.
Similarly, a buyout provides no cap relief. The only way the Leafs can save any cap space on the 35+ contract is if Robidas is in the minors – and even then it only provides $100,000 worth of savings.
It doesn’t look like it will be a major issue for next season, when the Leafs figure to have plenty of cap room. An interesting situation nonetheless.
Robidas also spoke about the team’s recent moves and current direction:
“The future is bright in Toronto. We are not seeing the results immediately on the ice. They are in the middle of changing the philosophy to bring some of what Lou (Lamoriello) did in New Jersey and what Mike (Babcock) did in Detroit. These are two winning organizations.”
“The Leafs are in rebuilding mode. Dion is an older player who wants to win soon. The Leafs are not trying to win in the short term. It will be more long-term.”
“Having played with [Dion] I have no bad things to say. Ottawa is fortunate to have a player like him.”