Grab Grabovski



Word from the insiders on twitter is that the Maple Leafs have waived Mikhail Grabovski for the purposes of buying him out today. This is a prelude to unrestricted free agency opening up this weekend (and possible re-signing Tyler Bozak). It’s a comically poor decision for Toronto who are one of the worst possession teams in the league, but it represents an opportunity for the Flames.

Gabovski had a down year last season in terms of output, but that was due to a combination ofr brutally difficult circumstances and really poor luck (36% ZS and toughest competition on the team, PDO of 98.8). Grabbo has historically been the best possession center on the Leafs and once his percentages regress to the mean his counting numbers will drastically improve as well. Style wise, he is fast, agile, creative with the puck and a quality passer.

Grabovski is 29 and will be paid an average of $5.5M for each of the next 4 seasons, so he’s not cheap and there’s some risk at the end of the deal. On the other hand, he’s a legit top-6 center capable of playing other top-6 opponents and is available for nothing. If he rebounds next season he improves the Flames to a non-trivial degree and could become a viable trade asset should Calgary look to flip him for a return a year or two down the road.

Bonus – check out the difference between Bozak and Grabovski’s effect on Phil Kessel.

There isn’t a better option on the UFA market than Grabovski. The Flames are high on the waiver order priority…they could either grab him for free right now and accept his exisiting contract or try to court him as a UFA when (if?) he is bought out.

I don’t know if the Flames brass will seriously consider acquiring Grabovski, but they should.

  • icedawg_42

    If he passes waivers, do you see a risk of a bidding war pushing his next contract to at or beyond what’s left on his current one? If so, grabbing him off waivers becomes a ‘no brainer’ no?

  • Lordmork

    We have cap space, we have roster space, we have need, and we could acquire Grabovski for nothing. The only reason we shouldn’t acquire him is if a team higher on the waiver order gets him first. If the Flames pass on him, you have to hope they have something absolutely amazing lined up for top-6 centre.

  • I would love to see Grabo in a Flames uniform. It’s a bit surprising that Toronto hasn’t tried to trade him… wonder if they have, and some teams know something we don’t?

    Maybe his performance this season wasn’t on-ice related, but off-ice (drugs, etc).

    Either way, wet dream.

  • Lordmork

    In the face of what seems like a very silly decision by the Leafs, could there be an underlying issue? Addiction or dressing-room? Has Corban Knight recently been in Toronto?

  • RexLibris

    As an aside, the Fan is talking like the Flames and Mason Raymond have come to an agreement.

    If you really want him you need to pick up Grabovski on waivers, or I doubt that you could get him signed with the amount of competition out there for good centers.

    • Interesting.

      Raymond has been a different player since that horrible injury in the playoffs. Before that, he could drive the play a bit. He’s been entirely mediocre since. Like Galiardi, Jones, another 40-point middle rotation winger. Fast though.

      The other issue is, where are they going to start shoe-horning all these wingers if they do sign someone like Raymond?

      • Parallex

        “The other issue is, where are they going to start shoe-horning all these wingers if they do sign someone like Raymond?”

        On a team that woke up on July 6th having missed on July 5th?

        I have no problem with the team accumulating bodies now and then flipping roughly equivalent bodies later. Dealing from a position of surplus is nice since it’s basically money for nothin’.

  • MC Hockey

    Flames can afford him so grab him on waivers (only 6 teams ahead of us) and pay the big $. You never know, he could get even more on the open market so avoid that risk and pick him up on waivers. Good advanced stats in past years.

  • The Flames are quickly becoming the Frankenstein monster of NHL teams. Random parts cobbled together in the desperate attempt to make a working team. If they pick up Grabo somehow (and possibly Mason Raymond?) this team will look totally different and could be half decent, or utterly horrific. Let’s hope it’s the former.

  • Lordmork

    Also, if we’re getting Raymond, then we’ve got to have our fingers on a trade selling another LW. I guess Feaster could have had success with his “call me” plea about Cammalleri. Maybe Hudler? I guess we could send Sven back to Abby.

  • aloudoun

    I know Leafs have gobs of money, but those are pretty serious $$$ to pay a guy who is going to get scooped up for not that much less money to play against you. I get the cap space is needed for other goofy moves Leafs are going to do but…… Can Feasty not just get on the phone to Nonis & say, OK, we’ll save you 15mill if you package Grabo & your 2014 2nd for our 2014 5th & just trade him to us. Maybe Nonis can get a bonus from the savings.

  • Craig

    So if we got Grabo, we would have one centre that can adequately play against top competition (Grabo) a second centre that has shown he can drive possesion against second tier competition (Backlund) A potential third line grinder playing third line competition (knight) and Matt Stajan? Who am I forgetting. Then we’ll have some good young centres waiting in line, reinhart, horak, monahan. that could slot in for injuries.

    That sounds half decent to me, that kind of team could drive possesion, and get scoring from all four lines. The flames would no longer be built with one or two high scoring lines but would need smaller contributions from every player.

    The main thing I like about that centre core is that besides stajan you don’t really have to shelter any of them all that much.

    This move makes too much sense, and because of that I am not optimistic it will happen.

      • Craig

        With the addition of Grabovski, calgary’s centre depth would be pretty good, if Knight works out. If Knight doesn’t work out, Horak has shown himself to be capable, and hopefully Reinhart does the same. Very solid possesion driving centres with no elite centre.

        The bliss of speculation.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Sounds about right. In an ideal world the Flames would grab Grabovski off waivers and move out Cammalleri and Stajan. Of course in this ideal world they didn’t trade for David Jones, but we can’t have everything we want.

      • Craig

        I agree on Cammaleri and Stajan, David Jones isn’t so bad, he’ll fill the space adequately for the time being. He’s got some goal scoring talent, will be bottom six.