The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the club has resigned Mikhail Grabovski to a 5-year contract extension, worth $27.5 million dollars. Grabovski will see a healthy raise from the $2.9 million he earned annually in his last contract. The extension makes Grabovski the highest paid forward on the team now, surpassing Phil Kessel‘s $5.4 million per annum deal.
Without getting too deep into it about his contract, I believe the deal is a tad overpriced (perhaps closer to 5 or 5.25 mil would have been better value) but I’m glad to see Grabovski will remain with the team for the next 5 years. Hopefully his performance Saturday night against the Habs, along with Randy Carlyle’s willingness to use him, is a sign of good things to come.
One thing to note: perhaps the Leafs search for the elusive number one center has finally ended. My ‘theory’, if you can even call it that, stems from reading @APetrielli‘s latest Leafs Notebook. Here is the excerpt:
When Carlyle won the Cup with Anaheim, his top three lines, by ice time, were as follows: Kunitz-McDonald-Selanne, as the top line, played the most, then Neidermayer-Pahlsson-Moen as the shutdown line played the second most, then there was a “soft” line in Penner-Getzlaf-Perry, who were a group of young kids that Carlyle would use to exploit the other team offensively.
Andy McDonald, the team’s de facto first line center at the time had 78 points the year Anaheim won the Stanley Cup. Although no center has come close to this number as of late, the ‘makeup’ of the team may have changed with Carlyle at the helm. Petrielli notes the existence of an offensive line, a shutdown line, and a soft line. One would assume the last line was the energy line, featuring players like Drew Miller, George Parros, Todd Marchant, Brad May and Ryan Shannon.
It’s plausible Grabovski could become this team’s ‘McDonald’, or he could be a more offensive ‘Pahlsson’. Grabovski could be used as the pivot on a ‘shutdown’ line, but could provide a lot more offence at the same time. He could also bloom with higher numbers offensively if given better linemates and used more appropriately.While nothing is set in stone just yet, he’ll certainly have to play in a role that will justify his shiny new pricetag.
Few things are certain going into next year, but at this point we know Mikhail Grabovski is a Leaf for the foreseeable future, and that’s alright with me.