Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Liles signing begins to chip away at next year's cap space

I like the Liles signing a lot. He appears to be an upgrade from Tomas Kaberle yet he is cheaper. I was pretty sure he would cost about $4.5 million in cap space so it appears Burke got him at a bit of a discount. But earlier in the season I thought the Leafs could only afford either Liles or Grabovski next season. I may be wrong but I certainly would not be shocked to see Grabovski traded over trhe next few weeks.

The Leafs currently have 17 players signed with a cap hit of about $53 million. That leaves about $11 million for 6 players. If the Leafs choose to resign Grabovski that could knock off $4 million off the available cap space. $7 million to cover the signing of Cody Franson, Nikolai Kulemin, Jonas Gustavsson, Daryl Boyce and Joey Crabb.

But is this a lineup you can deep in the playoffs? I don't see it. I like Grabovski but he contributes to a serious problem, a lack of size up front. It may make more sense to flip Grabovski and bring up Joe Colborne. Certainly the money that the Leafs save could be plowed back into a free agent.

Knowing how Brian Burke operates the fact that he has 17 signed for next season is not necessarily a constraint. The GM has been known to make trades that no one thought would be possible. I hope that is the case because going with the same lineup next season does not excite. And with 8 defensemen on the roster you would expect that if Liles does stay then someone is going to move.

So hear's to trading deadline frenzy!

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