Maple Leafs could thrive with compliance buyouts

It will be a list of all-stars and pluggers, of first-liners and goalies, even potential Hall of Famers.

Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis — like the rest of his NHL brethren — will be watching and guessing who’ll be on the list of this summer’s new wrinkle to the collective bargaining agreement: the compliance buyout.

“We all speculate and say this guy is an automatic buyout,” said Tampa GM Steve Yzerman. “But teams don’t share that information; you don’t know their financial situation, what they’re doing with trades, or guys in the minors, what they’re planning to spend.

“I’m very interested in seeing what happens. It could be very interesting, or it could be very anti-climatic.”

The compliance buyout offers a way for some teams to get under the salary cap (it drops to $64.3 million next season from $70.2 million) and offers other teams a chance to get out of bad long-term deals without any consequences toward the salary cap.


Centre Brad Richards, New York Rangers.

Tongues wagged from the moment John Tortorella made Richards a healthy scratch in the playoffs. Tortorella is gone, but Richards remains one of the NHL’s highest-paid players. At 33, he had a horrible season.

He has seven years remaining on a $60-million (U.S.) deal. A buyout would cost New York about $35 million and the Rangers would still be on the hook for $10 million in signing bonuses (which are exempt from the buyout). The Rangers are in cap trouble, with $13.5 million in space left and the need to re-sign Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh and Carl Hagelin.

LEAFS: Made a half-hearted attempt at signing Richards two summers ago, but they believed he was headed to New York all along. At a reduced rate and a short term, the Leafs could use Richards. The scuttlebutt is Richards was happiest in Dallas and would like to return if new Stars GM Jim Nill is willing.

56 Responses to Maple Leafs could thrive with compliance buyouts

  1. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    If the Rangers don’t buy-out Richards, which I don’t think they will…the centre positions are jammed with Richards, Stepan, Brassard, Boyle, Powe and Newbury.
    It would make sense that Boyle or Brassard could be available. My preference is Boyle for his size, face-off and penality killing ability. Rangers could use a solid stay-home, relatively inexpensive D-man.

    What do you guys think about
    To Toronto
    Boyle and rights to Gilroy-UFA(fallen out of favour there)
    To NYR

    I think it’s a fair value trade that suits the needs of both teams. Gilroy could still be a good depth guy who could be signed cheap and Boyle fills that third line centre role a lot cheaper than re-signing Bozak and brings size down the middle.
    NYR should be able to re-sign Gunnar somewhere between $1.7 and $2.1 on a two to three year deal. He would give them a solid defensive minded D-man and really fill-out their top 6 D core.
    I think it would be a good move for both teams.

  2. kessel_leafs81 says:

    I really like that idea, faceoffs would be key if we let bozak go.. it would give us another big body to cycle down low and give us some pocession game and with komarov maybe leaving it gives us some more toughness up the middle. i can see NYR show some interest because it is an upgrade over eminger and stralman. Especially if staal isnt back before the start of the season. Boyle is playing fourth line minutes at the end of the season, he is the odd man out for sure in my opinion. good deal for both teams

    • mojo19 says:

      I don’t think we’re as bad on draws as Boston made us look. Boston has been winning pretty much every draw cleanly against Pittsburgh too. Bergeron has owned Crosby, and Sid is typically right up near the top of the league.

      Bozak was only about 40% on draws in that Boston series anyway. Not very good at all. Just everyone else was worse. Bottom line – everyone needs to be better on face offs.

  3. kessel_leafs81 says:

    Also, I dont see rangers buying richards out, they will wait and see if the new coach can rejuvinate his play and get him back to a number one center.

  4. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    It has also been reported that Streit will not re-sign with NYI and Shultz wants out of Washington.
    A couple other small moves the Leafs could consider to help the D-core.
    A)trade a 7th round pick to the Isles for the rights to Streit, becomes a 2nd round if we sign him.
    B) Washington seems to like puck moving D-men, where I think Schultz fell out of favour with Oates. I still think Liles would be of interest to them if we took back contract.
    To Caps
    Liles, Holzer, 4th
    To Toronto
    Schultz, Chimera

    Just these two small deals could give the Leafs…Phaneuf, Gardiner, Franson, Streit, Schultz, Fraser, Gunnar on the backend. Add Chimera to the third line as well.
    If we could also pull off the deal in my above post…replace Gunnar with Gilroy at half the price and add Boyle to the third line as well.
    I also believe Grabo would be a good fit in Dallas and they desperately need centres, plus the Stars would not need us to take back a contract(s).

    Nonis needs to make some smart small moves beyond just one big one for a 1st line centre.

  5. leafs_wallace93 says:

    The Pens are getting exposed by the Bruins. Wonder how the Leafs would have done against the ‘invincible’ Pens. Crosby is pointless vs Chara, does that mean Tyler Seguin is better than Crosby?

    Anyways, Malkin might not resign in Pitt, as much as I love these ‘do we go after Brad Richards’ or ‘Schultz’ rumors those are tweak moves. I’d like Nonis to just swing for the fences. Bylsma is getting fired this off season, Pittsburgh will be going through an identity crisis with the threat of Malkin walking on top of that. They could have a Jordan Stall situation brewing.

    So offer up Phaneuf and two 1sts for Malkin this off season. I know Pittsburg won’t go for it (unless their scared of Malkin walking already)… leak the offer to the media and put Malkin on notice that Toronto and all the money he could want, all the fame and a team on the cusp of contention that Malkin would put over the hump is waiting with open arms while he’s stuck in an ambivalent market where you have to second fiddle to a guy that can’t even grow a real beard. Not to mention I’d expect a bunch of that causal fanbase in Pittsburgh to begin to yawn at them choking again (we forget sometimes that you could see a playoff game in Detroit for 38$, hockey teams are pretty meaningless to American fanbases despite their success on the ice).

    Malkin in Toronto can make him the face of the league. That’s a seed worth planting in Malkin and Malkin’s agent’s head.

    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

      Not that I am disageeing with a swing for the fence like Malkin, but the tweak moves makes big moves possible sometimes. Adding a Schultz and Streit for basically nothing makes moving Phaneuf for a centre more posiible. Problem is…Phaneuf is not the player Pitt would want.IMO Letang is due for a big raise and is a risk/reward style of guy, Martin makes $5mil and Orpik $3.75. I think you are looking at a Kadri plus pkg to get a Malkin.
      Kadri, Gunnar, Frattin and (1-2) firsts would make them think about it more IMO. Pitt needs help on the wings and reliable, defensive D-men. Kadri would be a cheap second line centre conpared to Malkin, so that may interest Pitt…like they did with the Staal move by getting Sutter back. Gunnar gives some reasonble priced defensive help and Frattin 2nd/3rd line winger help. That’s ore of a need than Phaneuf on D in Pitt.

      • mapleleafsfan says:

        I think we means just make that offer so it is sort of like bypassing tampering rules. Make it clear you want him by offering a big package (but not one they would accept), and then just sign him as a UFA.

        • realistic_leafs_fan says:

          Fair enough. You basically tell Phaneuf that he is no longer wanted though. Phaneuf will be gone at end of contract for sure then and if you don`t land Malkin…it was all for not.

          • leafs_wallace93 says:

            You’re going to tell him one way or the other. If anything it should be Dion on notice that he isn’t going to a near max contract guy in Toronto.

      • reinjosh says:

        Schultz is awful. Almost every single Caps wants to give him away. He would not improve the Leafs.

        And Streit would not replace Phaneuf in anyway. YOu sign Streit to replace Gardiner. Those two play similar games.

        Streit and Phaneuf would be a nice tandem actually…

        • blaze says:

          Streit is a train wreck defensively so I’m not so sure about that. I’m really not interested in a soft declining offensive dman that can’t play D that his own team doesn’t seem concerned is walking.


          • mojo19 says:

            Streit way before Scuderi or any other free agent dman available.

            Mark Streit was very good in that Islanders-Penguins series. He really won me over in that series. He’s grittier than I would’ve thought. I don’t think he’s a gem defensively either, but he is pretty dominant in his way. He would be a big boost to the back end.

            • blaze says:

              I trust your opinion on players so maybe you’re right I can’t say I watched any of the Islanders-Pens series.

              He is Swiss after all they tend to play a bit more ‘Canadian’.

              Gotta say though I am not a fan and am not sure he’s a good fit.

              He will decline. Gardiner is ready for the bulk of offensive/PP duties.

              Not that I promote it in any way but I don’t think it’ed be unreasonable for Reilly to have a strong camp and get a look.

              • mojo19 says:

                Ya, that’s a more than fair assessment. Streit is a great puck mover, but he would be on the decline.

                We would be better off signing Kaberle (after the habs buy him out) to a 1 year, $1.2 million(ish) comeback type of deal. If we’re going to go with that kind of dman. Just because it would be a cheap move, and a familiar guy.

                Scuderi is okay, I haven’t been overly impressed by him in these playoffs. I think his best days are behind him, but if you could sign him to a cheap 1 or 2 year deal then ya, he’s alright.

                Problem is, as of right now, there are no real gems on the blue line available. Not the type of stud we’re looking for.

                • mojo19 says:

                  By the way, not saying Kaberle would have the type of impact he ever had before, but might not be a bad, cheap replacement for Liles who I think will be bought out, as a depth dman.

                  Another guy is Ron Hainsey. He hasn’t scored a goal in either of the last two seasons. A far cry from the briefly solid offensive/2-way dman he once was. But coming off an expensive deal he could be poised for a 1 year “comeback” type deal in the million dollar range. I’d take a look at him as a depth move.

        • blaze says:

          Scuderi long before Streit. Even though he too will decline, likely precipitously because it’s Toronto .

    • mojo19 says:

      Malkin is also good buds with Kulemin. Just saying…

  6. mojo19 says:

    As for the buck-toothed weasel, Brad Richards. I had no interest when everyone wanted to sign him to a 7-10 year deal worth $7-10 million a year. But now that he could maybe be bought out (I don’t think he will with Torts having been fired, but still maybe), I wouldn’t mind B-Rich coming in on a 2 year deal worth around $4.5 million a year. Connolly type deal, which would hopefully work out better this time.

    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

      I had no interest in that contract either Mojo(not all caps lol). I was dead against it. I am against almost all long term big ticket contracts. I agreed with Burke there and I’m glad he didn’t cave to media pressure and offer guys like Richards, Semin etc big contracts when a lot of fans wanted it. I love the Carter contract-a young, big, powerful, high end forward tied up at a reasonable cap hit for long term. I remember so many on here not wanting him when he was in Philly because of the contract and he “couldn’t play with Kessel”. How good with Jeff Carter look at centre in Toronto now.

      • mojo19 says:

        Ya I’m with you. Jeff Carter was a good one, Johan Franzen’s also good because his cap hit ended up under $4 million, even though he’s signed until he’s 39 or whatever.

      • blaze says:

        Carter would be sweet in Toronto. What would the cost have been though? Kadri and…Kulemin??

        Not sure if that would’ve got it done. Tough to give up on Kadri who has a high potential ceiling himself.

        Will admit I was ho hum on Carter at the time myself.

        • mojo19 says:

          I’m partial to Nikolai Kulemin, and he was coming off that 30 goal year. So I was fine with the deal not being made at the time. Then last year with Kadri being in question and Kulemin’s drop off it looked like a mistake. Now, with Kadri’s emergence Kulemin’s solid effort in the playoffs it looks okay again.

          So who the hell knows. I like Kadri now, I think he’s a keeper. Also really impressed with Colborne’s play in games 6 and 7 with Bozak out.

          So I guess the question is- would everyone be okay with a relatively quiet offseason and see Nonis continue to hold onto prospects and picks and keep building this thing up slowly?

  7. leafy says:

    The way I see it, unless the Leafs want to trade Kessel, Lupul, JVR, Gardiner, Reilly, or Reimer, they’ll have to use either Kadri or Phaneuf as trade bait if they want to move up in the draft.

  8. leafy says:

    Damien Cox says that Nashville might be dangling its pick at No. 4, and Edmonton at No. 7 might be willing to talk.

    • reinjosh says:

      I doubt we have enough to get the 4. I also doubt we have what Nashville would want. I seriously doubt Kadri or Kessel would be traded and that’s likely who they’d ask for.

      I’d trade Franson plus for the 7th though. Doubtful that Edmonton would go for that though.

      Honestly, I doubt anyone in the top 10 moves out,

      • leafy says:

        I love the way Franson played against Boston.

        • blaze says:

          Agreed I thought Franson looked great. Ya really seem to have to work your way into Carlyles good books to get the ice time and it was great to see Franson finally do that.

          Hope to see him in a 20+ minute role all season next year he’s really come a long way with playing physical.

          • mojo19 says:

            Cody Franson was a beast. Still has a lot of room to improve, but he showed a level of play in that series that has to inspire a ton of confidence in the fans.

            I think he’s gonna be a #3 for a long time. 2nd unit PP, and a big horse. He could take some heat off of Dion next season.

            • Gambo says:

              I thought he looked good all year, finally started using his body. I love when him and Gardiner are paired together, even in 2011-12 they looked really good together.

              If someone like Myers or Eric Johnson become available I’d be stoked if Toronto could pull a deal off to land someone like that.

              Phaneuf-Myers/Johnson etc.

              That top 4 looks pretty gnarly to me.

              • mojo19 says:

                Ya definitely. Tyler Myers or Eric Johnson would be great. I’d also like to add some kind of veteran into the mix. I mean, Dion is 27, Gunner 24, Gardiner 22, Franson 24, Fraser 24, the vet on the back end is Liles and he’s kind of on the outs.

                It would be nice to bring in someone with some experience on the back end, and another veteran up front. I think our bench could’ve used some guys with experience for those playoff games.

  9. leafs_wallace93 says:

    My brother has season tickets to the Knights so I asked him about Harvat to which he replied ‘the last game I say him play he scored to short handed goals on the same shift, yeah, he’s ok’. From what I read about him he could be a good utility guy, a steal late in the first.

    I’m not going to posture that reading a few draft reports makes me an expert but I’ll be happy if the Leafs could land either Horvat, Domi, Erne, Gauthier or Dickinson.

  10. blaze says:

    I find it interesting Phaneuf looked like 10 times the defenseman the superstar Letang is against Boston.

    • mapleleafsfan says:

      Haha I was thinking that last night too. If Phaneuf had a game even close to as bad as Letang’s last night I can’t imagine the backlash. He’s been brutal.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      We’re going to always hate our top defenseman unless their having a Norris trophy candidate type season. You could say the same thing about Doughty who runs hot and cold.

      However if we invest 7+ million per in Phaneuf I won’t be able to stomach the 5+ years of people bitching about him.

      • blaze says:

        The joys of Leaf Nation.

      • mojo19 says:

        I hope we can get him on a 4 year $20 million contract after this season ($5 mil cap hit.) Is that at all feasible?

        • blaze says:

          I can see the 4 year range being reasonable but if he takes a cut in term no way he’ll accept a cut in salary.

          4y, 6.5m for Dion and 5 year 7m for Phil??

          • Gambo says:

            If they both sign in Toronto I can see them having identical contracts in both length and salary. Hopefully they take less than what Perry and Getzlaf signed for. It’ll show a lot about their character, depending whether they’re greedy or not.

            It’s a tough situation resigning star players. If you let them walk, you’re going to end up paying more for someone on the open market to replace that player.

          • mojo19 says:

            $6.5 is probably more realistic. I think it’s a bit steep, considering we’re going to have to pay for raises to Gunner and Franson this summer and Gardiner next year.

            Ideally we could get Dion in at $6 million or less, especially with the cap coming down. But you’re probably right, we’ll have to keep him at the money he’s earning now.

  11. lafleur10 says:

    does anyone know what day the draft is?

  12. leafs_wallace93 says:

    Hasn’t really been any Horton talk on this site, why not offer him the ‘Bozak money’ and let Tyler walk?

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