Is Mikhail Grabovski worth a reported $5.5 million US per season?
We’re about to find out.
The Maple Leafs announced on Tuesday morning that the team has locked up Grabovski with a contract extension through 2017. While the team does not release financial terms of deals, NHL sources say the five-year pact is worth in the neighbourhood of $27.5 million US.
In comparison, Anaheim Ducks stars Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf have a cap hit of $5.325 million US, albeit only through 2013. Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler is locked up through 2016 at a cap hit of $5 million US.
Let the debates begin.
“I want to say thank you very much to the organization,” Grabovski said after the Maple Leafs morning skate on Tuesday.
“The last four years, I don’t have any problems here so I want to say thank you very much to the whole coaching staff, all the managers. They believe in me and I start a new life right now. I’m very happy to stay here and I want to say thank you to my parents who gave me a chance to play hockey.
“It wasn’t just me, it was my whole family who worked for that, same for my girlfriend and same for my agent. I’m happy to stay here.”
In 59 games with the Leafs this season, Grabovski has scored 20 goals and added 25 assists. That comes on the heels of his career season of 2010-11, one in which he collected 29 goals and 29 assists for 58 points.
“He brings a certain work ethic every game,” Clarke MacArthur said of Grabovski, who has been his linemate for most of the past two seasons. “He has a lot of heart when he plays and I think that’s something a lot of teams would want to build around. It’s nice to see he’s staying here.”
Grabovski’s highlights this season include a sizzling January in which he registered 16 points, earning him NHL first star honours for the third week of that month.
In 304 career games with both the Leafs and Montreal Canadiens, Grabovski has scored 82 goals and 113 assists for 195 points.
“We are extremely pleased to have Mikhail under contract for the next five seasons,” general manager Brian Burke said in a statement released by the team. “His speed and skill are valuable commodities and fit perfectly with our style of play. He leads by example and his work ethic speaks for itself.”
Grabovski, in the final year of the three-year, $8.7 million US deal with the Leafs, was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Now, with his new contract extension, the Leafs have ensured he won’t have that chance to get away.
Grabovski’s two-goal performance in Toronto’s 3-1 victory on Saturday snapped his 14-game goal drought.
-- with files from Dave Hilson