MONTREAL, CANADA - MARCH 3: Mikhail Grabovski #84 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his third period goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on March 3, 2012 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Canadiens 3-1. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Mikhail Grabovski re-upped with the Leafs for five years at $5.5M today, prompting the entire world to shout "overpayment" in unison.
The fact of the matter is that despite not having a reputation as a two way center Mikhail Grabovski is one of the best two way centers in the league. If we look at "Adjusted Corsi" which seeks to correct Corsi for where on the ice a player starts, Grabovski came in third in the entire league last year, between Ryan Kesler and Patrice Bergeron.
I'm not suggesting that Mikhail Grabovski is better than Patrice Bergeron or Mr. Kesler, but Bergeron took a huge hometown discount to stay with the Bruins. People will point to Ryan Kesler's 40 goal season as proof Grabovski isn't in his league but I don't think that's representative of Kesler as a player (Grabovski has more points this season than Kesler, for example).
The fact is this year's UFA market is incredibly thin and lots of teams would have paid $5.5M or more for Mikhail Grabovski. Don't believe me? Last year Erik Cole made $4.5M x 4 and Ville Leino got $4.5 x 6, which is still absolutely shocking to see.
Did Grabovski sign a hometown discount steal contract? No, not really, and that kinda sucks, but there's no one to replace him for $5.5M on the market on July 1st, and he's that rare player who drives possession in the right direction in Toronto.
Don't worry about slight overpays for good players, guys who help the team win, but be furious for huge overpayments for boat anchor guys like Colby Armstrong and Mike Komisarek who make the team worse by being in the lineup.