Friday, September 22, 2006

Leafs may not pick up Sundin's club option for next season...

There is a chance the Toronto Maple Leafs won't be picking up the club option on Mats Sundin's contract next season.
This will feed the speculation he might consider waiving his no-trade clause, or worst case, retirement. Neither of which is likely to happen.
So, please hold the outrage!
Let me explain.
The Leafs and the NHL have discussed the language used in the big captains contract to determine how this option year applies to the CBA.
A contract, I should add, that is unique and will this season include a $760,000 allotment which boosts his salary this year to $7.6 million after the rollback. Its important to note this allotment will be paid out this season and will have no bearing on Toronto's cap in the future. Unlike Ed Belfour's arrangement, which the Leafs are absorbing even though Belfour is now property of the Florida Panthers.
Currently, it's the average of Sundin's salary ($6.3 million) that eats up a big chunk of Toronto's cap space.
However, the theory the Maple Leafs are exploring would see the team decline the option, in affect ending the contract before signing Sundin to a new contract, free and clear of his existing deal.
As long as the 35 year old signs for less than $6.3 million, Toronto would save potentially hundreds of thousands in cap space, freeing up money to re-invest in other players.
If Sundin were to agree to a two-year, $11.5 million deal, automatically Toronto will shave $800,000 off the cap. In today's NHL, $800,000 buys a pretty good player.
Its a technicality worth exploring.

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