Jeff Finger of Toronto Maple Leafs Put on Waivers, Demotion to AHL Likely

Brad LeClair@beerad87Correspondent IOctober 12, 2010

Jeff Finger is smashed into the end boards by Wings forward and superpest Tomas Holmstrom.
Jeff Finger is smashed into the end boards by Wings forward and superpest Tomas Holmstrom.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

In a move that no one is surprised with, the Leafs decided to waive defenseman Jeff Finger Tuesday.

If Finger clears waivers, the veteran defenseman will report to the Toronto Marlies, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Maple Leafs.

According to Coach Ron Wilson and Leafs brass, Finger's contract will not be bought out, however. If an injury or bad play happens to any of the defenseman, Finger will be on the club's radar as a replacement call-up.

The Leafs want to avoid a Darcy Tucker like contract buy-out with Jeff Finger.

Finger, who originally signed a four-year $14 million dollar contract with the hockey club, was entering his third year of the contract and is still owed nearly seven million dollars as a result.

In the season prior to signing with Toronto, Finger enjoyed a career season (not surprising, it was in a contract year) scoring eight goals and adding 11 assists for 19 points and finishing the season at +12. In his first year with the Leafs, Finger would eclipse those numbers; however, the team had a terrible year and his play wasn't as good as the stats made it seem.

It was a numbers game for Finger, as eight defenseman were better than him according to Ron Wilson. The team added Brett Lebda as a serviceable back-up sixth or seventh defenseman to go along with the emerging Carl Gunnarsson. After that move, it appeared likely that Finger's days with the Leafs were coming to an end.

In 105 career games with the Leafs, Finger has eight goals and 25 assists for 33 points and was a mediocre -18 in those games.

Finger's career numbers in 199 career games are 17 goals and 40 assists for 57 points and a +4 rating. Finger's days with the Leafs appear to be numbered, but his days as a member of the Leaf organization are not over.


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