After 5 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Mikhail Grabovski has been bought out of the remaining 4 years of his contract worth $5.5 million per season. Will I miss him? NOPE. Are some people overreacting to his buyout? YUP.
Let’s take a look at his contract and contributions, shall we?
I’m not a General Manager in the NHL (yet), but I’d like to think that I have a pretty good idea of what some players are worth and which players are over payed. I believe that a guy who can contribute close to 50 points per year is worth about $4 million. I consider these players above-average. Superstar players like Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin should have a starting price of at LEAST $7.5 million. The difference between above average players and superstar players, in my eyes, is large. In monetary value, about $3.5 million.
This bring me to Mikhail Grabovski. To me, goals and assists mean the same thing. I don’t care if a player has 50 goals and 0 assists or if they have 0 goals and 50 assists. Either way, 50 goals were scored and they receive some sort of credit for it.
Grabovski’s point totals over the last 5 seasons are: 48 (78 games), 35 (59 games), 58 (81 games), 51 (74 games), 16 (48 games).
He received a 5 year/$27.5 million contract from Brian Burke after his 4th season with the Leafs. I didn’t like the deal at the time; I thought he was over-valued. To me, in order to give a guy $5.5 million/season, he should be an undisputed first line player. Grabovski was never going to be that. He’s too small and his career high was only 58 points. A great number, but it only happened once. Mikhail Grabovski is a role player. He is not a star player. He is not a must have, so don’t pay him like he is.
Therefore, I believe it is absolutely the right decision to buy out his contract and free up the cap space. Grabovski had an awful season last year. Yes, he was battling an illness where he lost a ton of weight. Yes, he was often on the 3rd and 4th lines. Yes, he was not happy about it (as we found out in his first interview following his release). I don’t care about any of this.
THE TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS MADE THE PLAYOFFS LAST YEAR.
I REPEAT, THEY MADE THE PLAYOFFS.
For the first time in nine years, they made the playoffs. And guess what…Grabovski had little impact on us getting there. Previous seasons, where his role was expanded and he was putting up points, the Leafs didn’t make the playoffs. So what does this tell me? It tells me the Leafs do not need Grabovski to be successful. Grabovski may go to another team and have a great season next year. Good, I hope he does. The Leafs just don’t need him. Randy Carlyle proved he knew what he was doing this year.
As things stand right now, Bolland and McClement are the only Centres on the roster. Kadri is an RFA and he will come back. Bozak is a question mark. It’s likely the Leafs will look to free agency for help down the middle. Stephen Weiss perhaps? Maybe an offer sheet to Cody Hodgson? We’ll see.
But, goodbye Grabovski. You are a good player and for less money, you would have stayed. You’re contract is too big and your production is too small. The Leafs can probably use your salary to pay two players. And as they say “two is better than one.”
To all those throwing hissy fits about this transaction. Please stop it. You clearly don’t understand the business of sports. It’s not like the Leafs got rid of Phil Kessel. It’s MIKHAIL FREAKIN’ GRABOVSKI!
Let this be a lesson to all you sports fans out there who become too attached to players on your favourite teams. They’ll only disappoint you and 99% of the time they’ll leave through free agency or get traded eventually.
Look at the bigger picture – that’s what sports are about.