Leafs Re-Sign Center Mikhail Grabovski: Did GM Burke Make a Mistake?

Matt Wiseman@@MatthewSWisemanCorrespondent IIIMarch 6, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 31:  Mikhail Grabovski #84 of the Toronto Maple Leafs waits to face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 31, 2012 at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Tuesday morning that GM Brian Burke has re-signed center Mikhail Grabovski to a five-year, $27.5 million contract extension.

"We are extremely pleased to have Mikhail under contract for the next five seasons," said Burke in a team statement. "His speed and skill are valuable commodities and fit perfectly with our style of play. He leads by example and his work ethic speaks for itself."

Grabovski was rumored to be on the trading block a few weeks ago prior to the NHL trade deadline, but Burke decided to retain his creative center to help keep Toronto's slim playoff hopes alive.

In 59 games with the Leafs this season, Grabovski has notched 25 assists to go along with 20 goals.

His new contract makes him the Leafs' top-paid forward at $5.5 million per season.

Burke has been criticized in the past for dishing out too much money on player contracts, and even though Grabovski continues to produce offensively for his club, $5.5 million per season may be a bit hard for Leaf fans to swallow.

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Is Grabovski's value to Toronto worth more than All-Star Phil Kessel?

Perhaps not, but the dollar value on his new contract suggests that he is.

Great player, not so great contract—this may become the tail of Mikhail Grabovski.

If so, Burke may soon face more criticism.

Follow Matt Wiseman on Twitter for up-to-date NHL news and analysis.

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