Should the Leafs Buy-Out Grabovski & Finger?

Not withstanding yesterday’s unveiling of the new Leafs jersey and new team captain, today marks the 1st official activity for the 2010 – 2011 NHL season….Today is contract buy-out day. 

It is rumoured that the Oilers will be active today with the possibility that they will dump Moreau, O’Sullivan and Nilsson.  Other rumoured candidates for buy-outs are Cheechoo of the Senators and Georges Laraque of the Canadiens….the later is almost guaranteed.

While I haven’t seen or heard anyone in the media suggest it, I have seen some fan posts on various sites that suggest that the Leafs should buy-out Mikhail Grabovski and Jeff Finger….It doesn’t make any sense to me but I’d be open to hearing your view.  In my view, they should bury the contracts in the minors should they need the cap room.

Let’s start with the rules:

Buyouts

1.     Players over 26 years of age:    2/3 of remaining contract

2.     Players 26 and younger:             1/3 of remaining contract

The team gets twice the years remaining to pay the reduced number on the salary cap.

Grabovski & Finger (Cap numbers obtained from www.nhlnumbers.com)

Total cost of buyouts: $6.65M

Total cost of paying salaries over life of contracts: $12.95M

Compare this to simply burying the contracts in the minors.  The Leafs would get full cap relief in 2010- 2011 as well as for 2011 – 2012….and no cap hit beyond the two years.

Bottom line as far as I’m concerned is….the Leafs can afford the cost of paying Finger and Grabovski to play in the minors.  The move also allows them access to NHL experienced players should (more likely, when) the pro team experiences injuries.  They can also avoid the wasted cap hit in future years which they will want/need.  The only down side to burying contracts is that the team could get a reputation for the move and this could affect a UFA’s decision to play here….I don’t buy that argument….The benefits far outweigh the drawback. 

If Burke needs cap space, bury the contracts – don’t buy them out…

LT

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