Leafs Sign Robidas

Jeff Gross

The Leafs have signed D Stephane Robidas to a 3 year deal worth $3M per year.

The Leafs have signed defenseman Stephane Robidas to a three year deal worth $3M per. My initial reaction is that this isn't as bad as it could be, but obviously I have my doubts.

First off Robidas is a defenseman who plays on the right side, meaning the Leafs depth there is now Phaneuf, Franson, Robidas and Polak. Either Phaneuf is switching sides (again) or Franson is on the move.

Robidas isn't a big scorer and won't contribute much on the power play. He was, however, a positive possession player for the Stars last year, with a 51.2% CF at evens, though with 53% of his starts in the offensive zone. (Last year Morgan Rielly led the Leafs D with, uh 47.3%...)

Thinking about financials: $3M feels ok in terms of a cap hit. Robidas will be 37 years old but he's been a useful NHLer. The downside here is his age and injury history. Robidas broke his leg TWICE last year.

On November 29th against Chicago:

And on April 21st against the Ducks:

So, he's a 36 year old with a bad leg and I think there's a reasonable concern here that he might not be able to come back as an NHLer. "Who cares then?" Well the issue is that he's over 35 and so this is an over 35 contract. As described here by Capgeek:

Players who sign multi-year contracts when they are age 35 or older (calculated on June 30 of the season the contract begins) count toward the cap under all circumstances, regardless of where (or if) the player is playing. The only cap relief is $100,000 from the player's cap hit if he is assigned to the minors after the first year of the contract or in the event of a buyout.

So if Robidas can't play for any reason it seems the Leafs would still be on the hook for his salary cap hit. (I'm hoping that interpretation of the CBA is inaccurate for some reason), in which case $3M for 3 years is an awful lot of dead salary, or potentially another d-man buyout for Nonis' Leafs.

The short story? This is a high risk high reward signing and Nonis kept the term low. I don't hate it. I don't think it's necessarily a bad idea, but it is risky and that's worth thinking about.

Via @MimicoHero

Robidas_medium

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