Well, there is no doubting that Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis has put his stamp on this Leafs roster during the 2013 offseason.
With Toronto involved in so many rumors around the league leading up to the June 30 NHL entry draft, it has been clear from the start that the Leafs GM has been intent on making some moves to improve Toronto's chances in 2014-15.
This Dave Bolland deal does just that:
TOR acquires David Bolland from CHI for three draft picks.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 30, 2013
Bolland now joins Nazem Kadri, Jay McClement and Mikhail Grabovski among the Leafs' signed centers heading into the 2013-14 campaign.
But could this be the end for one of them?
Could Grabovski's time in Toronto be coming to an end?
His contract, disappointing 2013 season and the emergence of Nazem Kadri, all make him an obvious buyout candidate this offseason.
Not to mention, the Leafs are in the hunt for the recently bought-out Vincent Lecavalier and had a meeting with the 33-year-old on June 29:
Told that #Leafs made a rather serious pitch for Vince Lecavalier in meeting earlier today with player and agent. Could be interesting.— Howard Berger (@Berger_BYTES) June 30, 2013
In fact, knowing that Lecavalier is likely to seek somewhere in the neighborhood of $5.5 million to $6 million per season, the Leafs' interest in the veteran center should have been a warning that they were thinking about buying out Grabovski.
After all, if Lecavalier were to be signed at $6 million per season and assumes the first-line center role and Nazem Kadri mans the second line in Toronto, the Leafs would be hard-pressed to keep Grabovski and his $5.5 million per season contract on the third line.
Problem is, the buyout period ends July 4, while free agency doesn't begin until July 5.
In other words, if the Leafs were to buyout Grabovski and not sign Lecavalier, they'd be in deep trouble down the middle this season.
Enter Dave Bolland.
Bolland allows the Leafs to buyout Grabovski without worrying that they may not sign Lecavalier. See, now if the Leafs buyout the Belarussian centerman and don't win the Lecavalier sweepstakes, they still have a serviceable top-six center. Not to mention, they'd free up about $2 million in cap space, seeing as Bolland makes that much less that Grabovski.
Furthermore, if they do manage to sign Lecavalier on July 5, Bolland isn't an overly-expensive option on the third line, as he's only scheduled to make $3.375 million this year.
For a guy that can play in both ends, and has won two Stanley Cups, that's not too shabby.
No matter how you slice it, it's hard to imagine a scenario where the Leafs don't take the risk of buying out Mikhail Grabovski and take a run at signing Vincent Lecavalier.