The Toronto Maple Leafs signed star forward Mikhail Grabovski to a five-year, $27.5 million contract extension, the team announced March 6. In doing so they avoided having one of their best forwards reach unrestricted free agency this summer.
“We are extremely pleased to have Mikhail under contract for the next five seasons,” Leafs GM Brian Burke said in a 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.”
Mikhail Grabovski: Leads Leafs in plus/minus
Grabovski and Burke have been negotiating on an extension at various times over the course of this NHL season. He sits this season at 20 goals and 25 assists in 59 games, coming out of a slump in Montreal Saturday to score two big goals in a 3-1 Maple Leafs win, new coach Randy Carlyle's first game behind the Leafs' bench.
The cap hit for Grabovski, who leads the team at plus 7, will be $5.5 million, $100,000 more than for star winger Phil Kessel. The hard-working center, who recently turned 28, was obtained for a 2nd round draft choice and a minor league player from the Montreal Canadiens in 2008.
Born in Potsdam, Germany, Grabovski learned his hockey in his family's native Belarus, where they returned when Grabovski was three. He was originally drafted by Montreal in the fifth round, 150th overall, in the 2004 entry draft.