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, 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.