At his news conference, Burke also made a cryptic reference to Grabovski, one of the few Leafs who plays bigger than his physical stature. Burke has had discussions with Grabovski's agent, Gary Greenstin, and the talks have "not been successful." - The Globe and Mail
Grabovski is a 25 year old RFA this season, and apparently negotiations didn't go well earlier this season. I think there's still a chance for Burke to get a decent deal hammered out, but if not there's a few roads to head down.
|2008 - Mikhail Grabovski||20||28||48||-8||92|
First, Toronto could go to arbitration with Grabovski and hope to get him signed to a fair deal, but as Tom Benjamin pointed out nearly two years ago, arbitration can swing wildly in either party's favor. e.g. the Cammalleri arbitration hearing:
Dean Lombardi doesn’t sound like a completely happy man despite winning the arbitration hearing with Mike Cammalleri. (Link found via Mirtle.) The problem, of course, is that Cammallari is not going to like his paycheque over the next two years and Mike will resent Lombardi for it. A fair deal would have been better for the Kings and I’d guess that Dean would have preferred - and expected - an award that split the difference. I bet the actual award was lower than the King’s final offer.
That doesn't help anyone really.
Second, Toronto could hope someone signs Grabovski to an offer sheet. Compenstation for losing an RFA to an offer sheet is based upon the amount of money the player is offered. For 2008-2009, based on the salary cap, here's the award structure:
|$863,156 or less||Nothing|
|$863,156 - $1,307,812||3rd|
|$1,307,812 - $2,615,625||2nd|
|$2,615,625 - $3,923,437
|$3,923,437 - $5,231,249
||1st, 2nd, 3rd|
|$5,231,249 - $6,539,062
||2 x 1st, 2nd, 3rd|
|$6,539,062 or more (lol)
||4 x 1st|
Compensation for losing an RFA to an offer sheet gives Burke some leverage here. It's likely that Grabovski will be in the range of a $2-$2.5M player, which to this writer seems like a reasonable number, but if that deal can't get done all Burke needs to do is tender a $2,615,625 offer and hope some other team wants to give us a first rounder for a player we couldn't sign.
Finally Toronto could just straight up trade Grabovski, with the "1st round" $2.6M clause having a large effect. If a team only offers up a 2nd round pick, Burke would obviously do better to keep the young Belarussian and hope for either an offer sheet or a cheap deal.
In the end this might be the most important storyline for the Leafs this summer aside from our new first rounder (will we love him as much as Schenn?) and Burke attempting to ink Gustavsson. Have at it PPPers, what do you think happens with Grabbo?