The Toronto Maple Leafs hockey operation believes in skilled forward Mikhail Grabovski after all.
First general manager Brian Burke opted not to move the pending free agent before the NHL trade deadline. Then he committed a whopping $27.5 million to him over the next five years. The deal includes a limited no-trade clause allowing Grabovski to select 10 teams each season he'd be willing to move to.
As the Toronto Sun notes:
In comparison, Anaheim Ducks stars Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf have a cap hit of $5.325 million US, albeit only through 2013. Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler is locked up through 2016 at a cap hit of $5 million US.
Grabovski, 28, has scored 20 goals and added 25 assists with a plus-7 rating 59 games this season for Toronto. Last season he scored 29 goals and added 29 assists.
Those are good numbers, but hardly great ones.
“I want to say thank you very much to the organization,” Grabovski told reporters after the Maple Leafs morning skate on Tuesday. “The last four years, I don’t have any problems here so I want to say thank you very much to the whole coaching staff, all the managers. They believe in me and I start a new life right now. I’m very happy to stay here and I want to say thank you to my parents who gave me a chance to play hockey.
“It wasn’t just me, it was my whole family who worked for that, same for my girlfriend and same for my agent. I’m happy to stay here.”
For those dollars, he should be.
New Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle is a bigger Grabovski fan than his predecessor, Ron Wilson. Carlyle sees him as a key offensive catalyst.
“The competitiveness that he displays and the size that he is proves to us that little men can compete,” Carlyle told the Toronto media. “He's displayed it and he's been rewarded for it.”