Leafs Being Investigated For Tampering

Mike BurseCorrespondent IJuly 7, 2009

DETROIT - JANUARY 17:  The Sedin brothers Daniel #22 and Henrik #33 of the Vancouver Canucks chat prior to a faceoff in a game against the Detroit Red Wings on January 17, 2008 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Wings defeated the Canucks 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

The Globe and Mail is reporting that the NHL is investigating the Maple Leafs for tampering regarding comments made of the Sedin twins prior to July 1 free agency.

The comments made by Head Coach Ron Wilson while he was on the Fan 590: "You're hearing right now, and this sounds very contradictory but, there's a real possibility, I would think, that we would be going after the Sedins. Let's just speculate there."

This comment was made only one day prior to the free agency period. Apparently, it is enough for the NHL to warrant an investigation.

Speculation of this investigation has been confirmed by Leaf General Manager Brian Burke: "The league has indicated that they are looking into it, so we will have no public commentary at this time."

That is the statement that Burke gave to the Globe and Mail.

Have the Vancouver Canucks filed a complaint to the league regarding the Maple Leafs possible tampering?

"No, the Canucks have not filed tampering charges," said the NHL's Deputy Commissioner, Bill Daly.

The League has also declined to make any further comment at this time.

So what does this mean for the Maple Leafs if these allegations are upheld? There is a possibility of the NHL using draft picks as punishment. Earlier in the season the Maple Leafs lost $500,000 and a fourth-round draft pick as they signed Jonas Frogren to a contract over the NHL's entry level limits.

Just to clarify the Frogen situation, the NHL believed Frogren to be an entry-level player, as he was drafted by the Calgary Flames in 1998, and never signed an entry-level NHL contract at that time. The Leafs and Don Meehan at the time believed Frogren to be an unrestricted free agent and signed him to a contract over the $875,000 entry level limit.

If the Leafs lost $500,000 and a fourth-round pick for a contract infraction, then one would have to assume that they stand to lose much more than that for tampering.

In 1994 then New Jersey Devils General Manager Lou Lammoriello launched an investigation of the St. Louis Blues after they had made an offer sheet to then restricted free agent Scott Stevens. Four years later the NHL awarded the Devils $1.4 million, their choice of one of the Blues' first round picks from 1998 to 2003, and the ability to swap first round picks once during that time period.

The big difference here is that the Sedin twins resigned with the Vancouver Canucks. Therefore you would have to assume that the compensation would be less if the Leafs were found guilty.

This will be an interesting story to watch unfold over the course of the off season.