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Jared Cowen and Schrödinger's buyout

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It seems that Cowen both is and isn't bought out, and until you open up the box labelled NHL grievance hearing, you'll never know which.

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We'll let the league decide if this is a photo of Jared Cowen
We'll let the league decide if this is a photo of Jared Cowen
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Clears it up right? I mean it's not an "arb" hearing, but okay.

So the numbers are clear, depending on how the Leafs jig around this guy or that on the roster they have somewhere around $2 million in actual cap space. This solves a lot of problems. It makes the concern over bonuses piling up a little less valid. It makes the issue of potential bonuses and the bonus cushion a lot less of a concern, and it means the Leafs don't actually have to put anyone on LTIR at all.

What isn't clear is how it works that he's bought out, but the "legality" of it is unknown. So if it wasn't legal, then...I don't know, but I'm guessing the Leafs pay his full salary but have no cap hit.

To be fair to the Leafs, this seems more fair to the Leafs. Taking an eternity to sort out if Cowen was or was not injured at the time of his buyout was not fair to the Leafs. You have to know your cap situation in training camp, and there is just no way it's fair that it was up in the air.

As far as the league goes, it's good to remember that the CBA is not like physics. What's in the box is whatever the league says is in the box.

From James Mirtle's story on Joffrey Lupul:

Overall, the Leafs are spending a pile of money on players who won’t play for them. Including Robidas’s $3-million deal, Lupul, Nathan Horton, Jared Cowen’s disputed contract, Tim Gleason’s buyout and the retained salary from Phil Kessel’s deal, they could be spending up to $19.2-million on thin air next season, almost exclusively on cleaning up mistakes left by previous management teams.