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Leafs To Hold Onto 2016 3rd-Rounder

Executive compensation for Babcock and Lamoriello to be surrendered in 2017 and 2018.

You'd better be worth it, Lou.
You'd better be worth it, Lou.
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

While the league's silly executive compensation rule is now gone, its dead hand still clutches at the Leafs' assets.  Today was the deadline for the Leafs to declare whether they would provide a 3rd-round pick to Detroit (for head coach Mike Babcock) or to New Jersey (for GM Lou Lamoriello), and according to Sportsnet via General Fanager, the Leafs have elected to hold onto their 2016 3rd.

The executive compensation rule mandated that a 3rd-round pick be provided for certain types of key hires within three seasons.  The Leafs also held onto their 2015 3rd, which was their first option to compensate the Red Wings for Babcock; with today's news, the 2017 3rd is now officially earmarked for Detroit, since that's the only option left in the three-year window.  With the 2017 3rd accounted for, the only option to compensate New Jersey is the Leafs' 2018 3rd-overall pick.

While Leafs fans probably aren't fussed about losing the pick value beyond the unfairness of getting dinged by a stupid, extinct rule, the compensation does have consequences for the Leafs' capacity to offer sheet restricted free agents.  According to the CBA's offer sheet rules, the Leafs must have their own picks to compensate another team, should they lure one away with an offer sheet, and most of the significant possibilities require one.  However, a recent Renaud Lavoie piece (courtesy of OilersNation) suggested that the offer sheet rules had recently been changed to permit more flexibility for teams owing executive compensation picks.  The change allegedly allows such teams, like the Leafs, to substitute other compensatory picks in order to make offer sheets--either by delaying the picks owed another year, or by substituting another pick in the same round they acquire in a trade.  If Lavoie is right, the Leafs might be able to make some use of the 2018 3rd they acquired from San Jose in this year's James Reimer trade, although they have no other 2017 3rds.

Either way, the decision means the Leafs, like most NHL teams historically, aren't seriously considering an offer sheet--or they're confident that one way or another, they're going to have the ammunition when the time comes.