Toronto Maple Leafs Re-Sign Joffrey Lupul: Was It a Smart Move?

Jon Reid@@JonReidCSMCorrespondent IIJanuary 20, 2013

MONTREAL, CANADA - JANUARY 19:  Joffrey Lupul #19 of the Toronto Maple Leafs deflects the puck in front of Carey Price #31 and Josh Gorges #26 of the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on January 19, 2013 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Canadiens 2-1.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Rumors had been swirling for a few days about the possibility of the Toronto Maple Leafs re-signing first-line winger Joffrey Lupul.

Well, according to Darren Dreger of TSN, a deal has been reached, and it will last for five seasons and pay Joffrey Lupul an average salary of $5.25 million per season:

5 year ext for Lupul. $5.25 average salary. Ltd no-trade. Leafs can request list of 14 teams. #TSN

— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 20, 2013

Was re-upping Joffrey Lupul this early and for that much money a wise move, though?

Sure, he was assigned the assistant captain's title for this season, so it was likely that the Leafs would be keeping him in town, but these questions still need to be asked.

After all, Lupul is a player who seems very susceptible to injuries and has only had one really standout season (last year as a Toronto Maple Leaf, of course).

Prior to this season, Lupul had only played in more than 60 games twice since the 2007-08 season.

Before his breakout 2011-12 season, he had also failed to eclipse the 60-point mark in his seven NHL seasons.

Don't get me wrong—I am not questioning his ability.

We all know he can play a high-energy game at an elevated level and works really well on a line with Phil Kessel.

The problem with this deal is that it comes with an incredible amount of risk.

$5.25 million per season is a lot of money, and if Lupul can't stay healthy or has his production drop off, it could become an albatross of a contract.

If Lupul were to have another eye-opening season in 2013, perhaps the contract would have been more justified. Or if the Leafs had waited for 15 or 20 games in order to be more certain that he could stay healthy and produce, the deal would have made more sense.

At this juncture, however, the deal is questionable.

It could pay dividends in the long run—especially if he posts a point per game and won't be able to demand $6 million per season—but right now it just seems like an unnecessary risk for the Toronto Maple Leafs to take.