Leafs Avoid Arbitration with Carl Gunnarsson.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have avoided salary arbitration with defenseman Carl Gunnarsson, inking him to a three-year, $9.45 million contract.

Maple Leafs re-sign Carl Gunnarsson to a 3-year deal.

Maple Leafs re-sign Carl Gunnarsson to a 3-year deal.

 SPECTOR’S NOTE: The annual cap hit is $3.15 million, but in actual salary he’ll earn $2.85 million next season, $3.15 million in 2014-15 and $3.45 million in 2015-16. Gunnarsson more than doubled his $1.325 million per season salary from his previous contract. It pushes the Leafs payroll for next season to over $58 million invested in 20 players.

Gunnarsson, 26, logged big minutes for the Leafs last season, average over 21 minutes per game. Though not a physical blueliner, he does possess good defensive instincts and can move the puck well, though he’s not one for putting up significant offensive numbers. He’s not flashy, but he gets the job done.

His new deal reflects the Leaf desire to keep him around and see if his game develops further over the next three years. Some Leafs fans will likely quibble over the salary, but it’s the going rate for blueliners of his age and skill level.

The Leafs focus now shifts to re-signin Nazem Kadri and blueliner Mark Fraser, who is also scheduled for arbitration.


  1. If Franson is unsigned, does that lead to a trade to keep Fraser as well?

  2. To clarify, can Kadri, Franson and Fraser’s salaries fit within the remaining cap space, or might a trade be necessary to make room to keep all three?

  3. As I understand it, Teams are allowed to be up to 10% over the salary cap but must be under when the season starts. There is about 6.5 million to sign 1 D and 2 Forwards. In looking at most of the settlements so far it appears that in most non-star cases the settlement is about 40% more than a player earned last year. So lets assume Fraser is awarded a bit more and gets 1.1 million per year. That leaves 5.4 for Kadri and Franson to share. I see Franson coming in at between 2 and 2.5 max and that leaves anywhere between 2.9 and 3.4 for Kadri. What has to be remembered about Franson is this has been his best season, but consideration is given for his previous seasons which were average at best. When comparing to Gunnarsson, remeber he has played top line minutes for a few seasons now, which is why he should get more, according to the criteria used. This is Kadris first full season, and a short one at that, so all these things will be considered. As for a trade, I think they will trade Liles if they can ( Islanders need to make cap floor and could use a puck moving D), and should eat some salary if necessary, otherwise they may send him to the Marlies and that way they will save about 925K on the cap if they need it (according to cap geek). They would need to put him on waivers to do that, and someone might grab him because it would cost the claiming team nothing If Leafs resign both Fraser and Franson and keep Liles up, they will have to send Holzer or Brennan down. If they send Liles down they gain a bit of cap relief in keeping Holzer and Brennan up, and could play one of there lower priced prospects on forward. The best solution no doubt is to trade Liles. There is no way the Leafs can have Liles, Gardiner and Reilly all playing with the Leafs.Trade Liles for whatever picks you can get, and your D is Phaneuf, Gunnarsson, Gardiner, Holzer, Franson, Fraser and Reilly. Alternate Gardiner and Reilly and when you really need offense, play them both and sit Holzer or Fraser.

    Sorry to be long winded. Just my 2 cents.

  4. I agree Murph, 100%.

  5. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure the new CBA prevents a team from burying a players contract in the minors to avoid the cap-hit. I don’t think we can put Liles or any other player on a 1-way deal in the minors to get rid of the hit- Liles $ would still hit our cap. Best bet is to either trade him or trade another d-man to create some cap-relief.

  6. When I went on to capgeek to see what would happen if Liles was sent down or “demoted” to the Marlies, this is the message that came up:

    Cap hit for one-way contract exceeds $925,000 and will count against the cap as a ‘buried’ contract at $2,950,000 while demoted. This player will be placed under the ‘other’ tab and can be recalled. That was today so maybe its wrong or not updated to new CBA.

    I could be wrong but my interpretation of this is that it gives the Leafs 925k in cap relief as long as he is with the Marlies.

    The same thing probably was the case with Komisarek. As with Komisarek, Liles would have to be placed on waivers first. If he is claimed off waivers Leafs are off the hook totally. If he clears waivers he is a 2,950,000 cap hit, versus 3,875,000 and stays with the Marlies. Liles, both as a player and full cap hit is a much more attractive waiver pickup than Komisarek. The other option is a trade with the Leafs taking some of their salary like they did with Frattin and Scrivens. Leafs eating a million bucks frees up to 2,875,000 in cap space depending on what they get back in return, which would hopefully be picks.

    • You can bury anyone not making 925k with no cap hit providing they clear waivers Brennan Holzer and Smith could all go down with out a hit as could Orr McClaren and Colborne its just a few of them wouldnt clear waivers but Brennan Holzer and Smith would likely clear so it would add.1.93 mill to the cap making the available space around 8.57 until Liles or Kulimen Dion or a combination of those 3 get dealt, still have lots of room to sign the remaining 3 RFAs