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:: Smiths former Atlanta teammates were glad ::

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MessagePosté le: Mar 18 Sep - 04:12 (2018)    Sujet du message: Smiths former Atlanta teammates were glad Répondre en citant

TORONTO - It was a gamble and Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis knew it. "If we werent able to get Bozak signed or if Clarkson didnt sign then I wouldve had a lot of cap space with no players," Nonis told the Leaf Report. "So it was definitely a gamble and we weighed that against keeping him and playing him." Ultimately, Nonis and his management team opted to exercise their second compliance buyout on Mikhail Grabovski this past summer, ridding themselves of the enigmatic centreman after five years in Toronto. After much debate, they determined that the cap space freed up by his dismissal was just too enticing to pass up; that the players fit on the roster just wasnt there. The 29-year-old, who returns to the Air Canada Centre as a member of the Washington Capitals on Saturday evening, still had four years remaining on a contract that ate up $5.5 million in cap space annually. "It wasnt a decision we made just overnight," Nonis said. "We thought long and hard about it and decided to roll the dice with the cap space and see if we could relocate it effectively." These were nervous times for Nonis. Though he had just acquired 27-year-old Dave Bolland from the Chicago Blackhawks, he had no guarantees that Tyler Bozak would re-sign in Toronto nor whether David Clarkson, their top free agent target, would take their bait and become a Leaf. "We didnt know when we did it that wed be successful in getting some players signed," Nonis said. Also due to be signed were restricted free agents Jonathan Bernier, Carl Gunnarsson, Nazem Kadri, Mark Fraser and Cody Franson.  Cap space, predictably, (with the upper-limit dropping to $64.3 million) was going to be at a premium. "We looked at a number of scenarios, including keeping him," Nonis said of Grabovski, who signed for one year in Washington at $3 million. "I said at the time, I think Grabo, wherever he ends up, was going to have a positive impact. Hes a good player and I believe that. But for us we felt we needed to regain that cap space to make some other moves moving forward." A major part of the equation was also the players fit within the roster. Never coming to grips with the role he was required to play in Toronto last season, Grabovski endured the worst season of his career in 2013. He finished with nine goals and 16 points in 48 games, completely off-kilter in the defensive role head coach Randy Carlyle had pegged him to fill. Afforded similar minutes under Adam Oates in Washington, albeit with a more offensive lean, Grabovski has already produced seven goals and 19 points this season. "Again, the notion that there wasnt ice-time available for him or opportunity last year, thats just false," Nonis said of Grabovski, who averaged nearly 16 minutes last season, his lowest as a Leaf. "I think it was more a situation where the fit just wasnt right. And it wasnt his fault. I dont think he ever shortchanged us on effort or being prepared or professionalism or any of those things. There just didnt seem to be a fit. And so to have that much cap space tied up with a player that wasnt fitting with us - it doesnt mean hes not going to fit with other teams, obviously he is - but thats what led to the decision to buy him out." Grabovski made no secret of his disdain for Carlyle and the role he was dealt in his final season as a Leaf. He believed his value came from producing offence - he scored 20 goals three times - and could not comprehend why that opportunity wasnt being afforded him as it had been previously under Ron Wilson. "I think too much is made about the coach being the issue with Grabo," Nonis said. "Look at Grabos ice-time and look at his opportunity and look at his performance and I think Grabo would tell you that he didnt have a great year. Whether it was just because he didnt feel like he was being used correctly or what it might be, but I think its easy to point the finger at the coach and say well its his fault. I dont think thats fair. Theres a lot of things that went into his season last year and I think just saying it was all the coach is unfair." The teams dynamic at centre ice almost dictated the terms for Carlyle. With Kadri making the team out of training camp when the lockout wrapped last January and Bozak already lined up as the teams top centre - the better fit for Phil Kessel in the teams opinion - there was nowhere else to put Grabovski but in the checking role he was assigned. Add Bolland into the mix from Chicago this summer - an ideal candidate to fill the role Grabovski griped under - and the stage was set for change in early July. Nonis, admittedly, could have waited until the summer of 2014 to exercise the buyout - the final year to do so under terms of the new CBA - but risked another poor season in doing so. "From a managers point we looked at it and said Is this the best thing to do for us to rehabilitate him, so to speak, and get him back to playing where we needed him to play or to buy him out and create the cap space. "That was the decision." Raymond Felton Jersey . -- Ryan Gropp scored in overtime as the Seattle Thunderbirds shut out the Spokane Chiefs 1-0 in Western Hockey League play Tuesday. Jerami Grant Jersey .com) - The Winnipeg Jets got over one hurdle by snapping their longest losing streak of the season. .J. Fair didnt have many chances to be the main option for Syracuse last season. Ray Allen Jersey . Smiths former Atlanta teammates were glad to hang on for an ugly win. Detlef Schrempf Jersey . - All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers looked spry enough in pregame warmups Sunday for Green Bays divisional playoff game against Dallas.INDIANAPOLIS - Alex Tagliani will drive a second entry in the Indianapolis 500 for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. The 2011 pole sitter will join Fishers full-time IndyCar driver, Josef Newgarden, in a two-car lineup announced Thursday. Tagliani will drive the No. 68 Honda. Tagliani was the 2009 Indy 500 top rookiee with an 11th-place finish.dddddddddddd Two years later, he became the only Canadian driver to win the pole. Tagliani has five career starts in the 500. His best finish was 10th in 2010. He has started in the first two rows twice, on the pole in 2011 and fifth in 2010, and has led 23 total laps. 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