Updates on the Maple Leafs and Tim Thomas – July 31, 2013.

Could the Maple Leafs use a buyout option to free up cap space? Could John-Michael Liles be on his way out? Has Tim Thomas made any progress finding a new NHL team?

Could John-Michael Liles become a buyout candidate?

Could John-Michael Liles become a buyout candidate?

TSN.CA: The Toronto Maple Leafs re-signing of defenseman Mark Fraser to a one-year, $1.275 million contract leaves the club with around $4.9 million in cap space to re-sign forward Nazem Kadri and defenseman Cody Franson.  One option for GM Dave Nonis is a buyout. “Nonis also has the option of a second buyout period which lasts for 48 hours, three days after the team’s final arbitration case is settled, should the team choose to free up additional dollars.”

SPORTING NEWS: David Alter wondered if the Maple Leafs could buy out the remainder of defenseman John-Michael Liles contract. Liles is earning an average annual cap hit of $3.875 million, but Alter noted he fell out with Leafs coach Randy Carlyle and at one point was benched 12 straight games.

“They would pay Liles two-thirds of his remaining balance owed and his cap hit to the team would be $1,291,666.67 annually for six years,” reports Alter. “This would, however, give the Leafs an additional $2,583,333.33 in cap space for this season, which would give them just under $7.2 million to work with.” The buyout window commences on August 2 and expires on August 4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per CapGeek.com, the actual cap hit would be $875K per season for the first two seasons, jumping to $2.375 million in year three, then dropping to $1.25 million per season for the final three seasons of the buyout tenure. In the short term, it would be a worthwhile option for the Leafs if they can’t find a trade partner for Liles and are unwilling to trade Franson. It remains to be seen, however, if the Leafs go that route.

CSNNE.COM: cited a recent report in the Calgary Sun claiming former Bruins goalie Tim Thomas has made little progress in free agency this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thomas’ luck could improve during training camp and preseason. For now, teams with questionable goaltending (like the Flyers, Panthers and Islanders) will start training camp with their current goalie tandems.

71 Comments

  1. Again why would they buy out Liles when they could have used the compliance buy out on him costing them nothing and used a regular buy out on Komi.
    Komi had one year left and Liles has three years left so it would be just plain stupid to buyout Liles on a regular buyout unless Nonis couldn’t see 3 weeks into the future that he would be tight after trading for Bolland and signing Boz and Clarkson. If that’s the case then god help the team.

    I’d say Kuli has to be moved if they can’t find a taker for Liles.

    • I would think that Nonis plans on a bridge contract with Kadri, and then giving Franson around $3 Million.
      Then during the season he’ll look to make some moves, Liles for sure. Possibly even Phaneuf.
      However I think it would be a mistake to deal Kulemin.
      The guy doesn’t put up numbers, but if you have ever been to a game where you can see what’s going on out of camera, one can easily see how good his 2-way game is. He hits hard, always comes back in the defensive zone quickly, and doesn’t make mistakes often.

  2. I agree that if they do in fact buy Liles out, something went afoul. It’s not the worst thing to happen, especially with the cap going up, but it’s certainly not the ideal situation. Nonis is a smart dude. Perhaps there was a deal on the table that got removed last minute. Perhaps there’s a deal still on the table that needs time. Reality is we have no clue what perspective they’re operating from. But if Liles gets bought out, something went wrong.

  3. Wasn’t Komisarek also bought out?

    I doubt anyone trades for 3.85M a year Liles but if Leafs eat some of that salary they could probably trade him?

  4. The Leafs had two compliance buyouts as per the CBA. They bought out Komisarek and Grabovski.

  5. I am not a Nonis fan but this is end of July. This is not end of September. A lot of time left to do anything and everthing..

    • Agreed by Monday we will see if Liles is bought out thats about it

    • Exactly look at all the other teams who are over the cap or close to the cap. Not just the leafs with cap issues.

      • What’s happening w/ the Leafs is part of the offseason process. Especially for a rebuilding/quickly improving team. There is no cap ‘issue’ with the Leafs. Nonis needs to make decisions with previously contracts that existed before his time, but there is no cap issue w/ the Leafs. There are a number of teams who would LOVE to be where the Leafs are.

  6. Although Nonis and Co. are likely to go about this route, I think they shouldn’t. Liles isn’t that bad of a dman, it is just unfortunate that they’re stuck in this perdiciment. They’re soon to get out of these buyouts (Tucker & Armstrong), the last thing they want, is to pay for a player that isn’t playing for them. But I guess it has to be done, as there really isn’t any trade traffic for Liles. Just get it done Nonis, this is legging on and becoming a horrible off-season. With $7.479M in available cap space after the Liles buyout, they can re-sign Franson and Kadri to:

    Kadri – $4M per x 5 years = $20M
    Franson – $3M per x 5 years = $15M

    Next year, they’ll have a total of $2.5M coming off the books (Tucker, Armstrong, Scrivens and Frattin). And this will be a contract year for Kessel, if he can live up to being the top scorer, he’ll require a hefty pay raise, something in the vacinity of $7M to $7.5M per.

    • I think $4M is high for Kadri, and $3M is low for Franson.

      • Agree- Franson will go for closer to 4mm+ and Kadri should get a 2-year deal at somewhere in the neighborhood of 3mm per year

        • More money for Franson then Kadri? Really?

          • Wow this is really setting up for some disappointment…lol

    • Don’t see how this is becoming a horrible off season? We sign Clarkson, trade for Bolland, and resign some players we need. Looking at the rest of the league , I would say the Leafs have done more than everybody else , and improved more than everybody else.

      • No Im not saying disappointment of an off season just alot of people could be disappointed if we end up eating some of Lyles bad contract and sign Franson to 4 mill which if and I do mean if he returns to being a bottom pairng D man could mean we have 5 million plus invested in a bottom pairing D man is all It seems no one has any dobuts about Fransons season being a bit of a fluke. Or even if he dosent and takes a spot as a second pairing that is a really steep price for a second pairing guy (see Paul Martin)

        • I’d say the jury is still out on that one, and it’s split 50/50. I think Carlyle’s system has a lot more to do with it than fluke. That’s a fairly huge and uncalledfor insult to a kid who’s still developing.

          I too am not a fan of Franson because he has proven to cough up too many key chances to the opposition. But when you’re a critic, you have to let the player have the positives he’s earned. you don’t get to top 4 in assist with fluke… especially playing on the Leafs. The Penguins, maybe. The Leafs? You have to earn everything you get with the Leafs.

          • No but injuries can play a role in it and when he was promoted he didnt look all that great

          • Ill say it again Im not trying to insult Franson I like some things he brings to the table size if he would use it would be the biggest among them. I like Leddy and Delzotto and other guys to that are comparables to Franson its not an insult to be in the same class as those guys, they are proven all around D men and their deals are for under 3 mill. People now saying Franson should get more then Kadri kind of blow my mind…if you think Liles contract is hard to get rid of if Franson just happens to be a bit of a bust how hard is it going to be to get rid of a bottom pair guy making 4 million dollars (not to mention the mill or so you have to eat in the first place to sign another bad deal) no one can point to any time in his career prior to last year he wasnt a bottom type D guy now with one short season to say he is worth more then the guy who had a smaller deal last year who won the Norris is absurd. Even if Kadri has a disapointing season or even 2 you will be able to trade a second line center who makes 3.5 mill there is no ammount of potential that will make a gm pick up Franson at 3.5-4million bucks if he goes back plays soft and gives up pucks like he did in the playoffs and the last week or so of the regular season and as he did prior to last year in his 4 years in the NHL.He is 26 not his early 20s if he showed any kind of potential like he did prior to last year I could almost kind of see a bigger number but for now the comparable numbers should be of younger guys bridge deals not 4 million dollars. Its not an insult to be compared to DelZotto and Im not saying we should trade him for a bag of pucks.

  7. They wont buy out Liles. Even if they did another team would sign him for 2mill + so what I could see happening (Ill use the Oilers just as an example…

    Liles (1.25 held) Ashton (or a prospect) for a third and Corry Potter (just a player with around 950k in salary that a team no longer needs)

    This way the Oilers again just an example get Liles for 1.25 off plus the other salary going back which the leafs bury so 2 million off his contract plus Ashton for a third round pick the leafs save 2.5 off the cap hit and use no buyout

    • I still think this is counter productive but a scenario which would work for a few teams….

    • I know I know, it is HockeyBuzz (Eklunds site), but a ‘Colin Dambrauskas’ posted a blog “Cody Franson – Could the Flames Help Out the Toronto Maple Leafs?”. We all know the history with that site and anything or anyone affliliated with Eklund, is 99.9% unlikely…but I’d like to see the names of Franson and Liles swapped out. Maybe a:

      To Toronto: 2014 2nd Round Draft Pick
      To Calgary: Liles

      • Cant see anyone giving up a second for that contract

        • I’m a Flames fan, but we are talking Feaster here. He almost crippled the franchise with the O’Rielly offer sheet. Plus he trades draft picks for players that he could get for free on waivers. Never say never.

    • .. or put Liles on waivers. He has a modified NTC, but I can’t tell if that means no movement as well.

    • But the only thing is, Edmonton only has $1,3M in available cap space with 24 players signed. They have no wiggle room and won’t go the route of Compliance Buyouts or Regular Buyouts. If somehow, there can be a 3 way trade, Toronto + Edmonton + South Eastern/South Western team, then a deal between Toronto and Edmonton is now a very much unlikely.

      • I was just using Edm. As an example Carolina the Ilsanders the same type deal would be available there I chose Edm because they have A couple fairly good examples of players that could come back and Eakns may have some interest in Ashton on his 3rd line, but again depending on the otjer teams needs there would be other options available Liles wont get bought out was my main point and there are teams out there that could probably get him cheaper by trading for him then for signing him if he was bought out

        • Yeah, however, if there is any potential trade option for Liles, I see Calgary as the absolute best option. We have a trade relationship with Calgary, and they have huge cap space. I’d say we can pry a 2nd rounder from them, or if need be, settle for a 3rd rounder.

          • a 7th would be gold.

          • A 7th for Liles straight up would get Dave another 5 year extension ;-)

          • LOL

  8. Tucker’s and Armstrong’s contracts are at least coming off the books next year. A non compliance buyout for Komi would have been 2.1mil this year vs 875k for liljes… so at least from a single season perspective using a regular buyout on Liljes frees up more cap space.

    • Very true but the long term consequence is double the cap hit for Liles over buying out Komi on that compliance deal.

  9. Just a left-field, outside-the-box thought here, but if there are no takers for Liles and his contract, would it be an option for the Leafs to peddle Kulemin in a trade and move Liles up front into more of a playmaking role? The Leafs would lose a little bit of grit & sandpaper up front, but it may be an opportunity for Liles to resurrect his career by playing to his strengths. His speed and passing abilities would be an asset and his average-at-best defensive skills wouldn’t be exposed as much as they are on the blueline.

    Again, just a thought, but if Nonis truly can’t find any team willing to trade for Liles, it may be a better option than absorbing the buyout cap hit.

    • Hey th in case you didnt see yesterday I do apologize for the “snarky” remark it was unintended.

      • Saw it this morning, no harm no foul.

        Like I said, I don’t have any personal vendetta’s against anybody here, it’s just frustrating to see comments taken out of context and twisted, regardless of who’s doing it and if it is done intentionally or not.

    • Might not have to do that really it might be wiser to try Colborne on the wing, but then your just saving just over a mill in cap space

  10. According to capgeek the leafs have 4.8, almost 4.9 mil left in cap space. They are allowed to go 10 % over the cap until the start of the season so add another 6.4 mil and you have plenty of room to sign both players.
    If they both get a combined 7-7.5 mil the Leafs are 2.9 mil over the cap. So add in roughly 1 mil for a cushion all signs point to a Liles buyout. ( all numbers are approximates )
    If they don’t but out Liles ( I never did understand the Komi buyout 1 year left on a contract , that made no sense ) I’m not sure what they will do.
    Why didn’t they buy him out earlier ? I think as Rob wrote something went wrong.

    • It is about dollars. Sure Komi only had 1 year left on his contract, but he had a higher contract cap hit ($4.5M). Then if they were still in the same situation they are in now, with Grabovski and Liles bought out via Compliance Buyout, they would be stuck with a higher cap hit via Regular Buyout for Komi…sure less amount of years, but for this year alone to re-sign Franson and Kadri, the dollars to work with is even worst than it is now.

      • Even though you save roughly $1.3M this year by doing an amnesty buyout on Komi as opposed to Liles why you put yourself in this crappy position for the future of having more then double the cap hit unless you figure your not going to be around as GM. If he was going to buy out Liles it should have been on a compliance deal and Komi should have had a regular buyout.

        BUYOUT CAP HIT
        Komi’s buyout cap hit
        2013-14 $2,166,667
        2014-15 $1,166,667
        Total cap hit $3,333,334

        Liles buyout cap hit
        2013-14 $875,000
        2014-15 $875,000
        2015-16 $2,375,000
        2016-17 $1,250,000
        2017-18 $1,250,000
        2018-19 $1,250,000
        Total cap hit $7,875,000

  11. For those of you dreaming up trade scenarios for John-Michael Liles, bear in mind he has a modified no-trade clause.

    • I would have to think he would be pretty open to moving tho if he had an opportunity to play and get away from Randy, unless he pulled a Breier and forced a buy out. Always a possibility I suppose.

      • Agreed, NTC or not, I think he prefers to play than ride the pine

    • Thanks Lyle. What isn’t clear is if whether or it includes full movement too? ie, waivers

      • A partial no-trade clause is just that. There’s nothing to prevent demotion. He can either provide a list of teams he won’t accept being dealt to, or a list of teams he would accept.

    • Well, are you the most inviting moderator! We are all fans here, maybe that comment would of been more appropriate for those associating themselves as analysts or insiders.

  12. Dealing Kuli seems like a more viable option considering his $2.8M cap hit, his trade value and the fact he doesn’t have a NTC.

    Also I don’t see what good it does for the Leafs to go 10% over the cap right now since your just pushing the inevitable cap problem down the road. You might as well just wait to sign Kadri or Franson until space is free’d up. Why stick yourself in a position where other GM’s can see how far over the cap you are and how screwed you will be if you don’t shed salary. Right now no GM’s know exactly how far Nonis will be over the cap until he signs the two RFA’s they can only speculate. If Nonis signs them later as opposed to now he can keep working the phones to shed salary from a better position. Once he commits to Franson and Kadri he is behind the eight ball.

    • there’s that. but the more cap room he eleviates for himself before signing Kadri/Franson, the more their agents will push knowing they can get more. Get them signed now under “tight cap space available”, and continue to work the phones later. Either way, someone will take advantage of your position.
      Kulemin shouldn’t be the odd man out just because he has trade value. There’s a reason for that. So far, buying Liles out is the best option – but, like Shticky, I doubt that will happen. I would imagine Nonis is working on something.

      • The arguement to their agents would be you can’t get blood from a stone. We have to assume the Leafs will have to retain salary on Liles if he is traded (about $1M) or trade Kuli either way you save about $2.8M (Kuli’s cap hit or Liles cap hit retaining $1M). That would give the Leafs $7.67M to spend on the RFA’s. Assuming the Leafs are ok with paying Franson and Kadri a combined $7.2M that would leave less then $500k cap room for injuries. Therefore these agents can’t ask for more because there isn’t anymore. IMO it’s better to wait to sign these two guys now that Nonis is in this pickle instead of going over the cap and having to deal from a point of weekness.

    • This is a good point. Once Nonis is in a real cap crunch rather than the current perceived one, he loses all leverage in trade talks because there’s a finite deadline for him to make a move to get under. Whatever value his trade assets have at the moment all goes out the window the second the Leafs meet or exceed their cap number.

      • I guess it all boils down to who would you rather be grovelling too, Kadri and Franson’s agent trying to get a better deal on RFA’s who can’t go anywhere except sit to start the season or the other 29 GM’s trying to unload Liles’s contract. lol

        • bad deal for rfa’s, team, GM or fans.

        • ok, can’t he sign Kadri/Franson now with limited cap as leverage to reduce the asking price and then put Liles on waivers if he can’t get a deal done?

          100pts to the first person to confirm if whether or not Liles’ limited NTC does not include full movement, and can in fact be put on waivers. That would erase his full cap hit.

  13. A few of you guys are wondering why Komisarek was bought out, not Liles. My take is I think Nonis felt there was more potential trade value for Liles, and that he would have to eat less salary if there was a willing partner and a consenting player in Liles, due to his considerable time as a healthy scratch. I still think Liles has trade value, but if nothing gets done by August 4th I feel Nonis will have no choice but to buy him out. Carlyle will not play him, so what is the point in keeping him? Nonis has gotten Gunnarsson and Fraser done so far, and I think will get Franson and Kadri too. Better to trade Liles than buyout, but I think it will be one or the other. As for Carter Ashton, throw him in too. I still cannot believe we gave up Keith Aulie for him!

  14. What would we ever talk about if Franson and Kadri were resigned lol?

    • How Nonis plans on getting under the cap. lol

  15. Scott Gomes has signed with the Florida Panthers

    • *Gomez

  16. I don’t actually see many trade proposals for Liles. I think Leafs fans are resigned to the fact he’s not getting moved :D

    • How about
      Tor: liles, and a third or forth rounder
      For
      NYI: Ryan strome

  17. Can Liles play 2nd base ?

    • Better the Lawrie

      • *then

  18. toronto…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……………….

    • You came to a section named ” Updates on the Maple Leafs an Tim Thomas”

      So here is the Tim Thomas talk…..no one wants him, feel better?

  19. Here is an ides get rid of Dion and then they would have lots of money for the guys that will help this team.

  20. The Isles should grab Thomas right now!!

    • Or they could grab Liles and Drew Mcintyre for a 4th round pick :-)

      • No? How bout Franson and a second for Strome? :-)

  21. who cares??? it’s the Maple Leaves ….

    • Well looks like you do Ed since you showed up to the Update on the Maple Leafs and Tim Thomas section and since Timmy isnt really doing anything at this point….