The Maple Leafs and Jared Cowen held their arbitration hearing on Wednesday regarding the contested buy out of his contract back in June, notes Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star. Toronto opted to pay Cowen $750K in each of the next two seasons over carrying his $3.1MM cap hit (and $4.5MM salary) for 2016-17. Doing so created a $650K cap credit for this year and a charge of $750K next season.
However, the CBA stipulates that an injured player cannot be bought out and Cowen and his representatives are contending that he remained injured with long-term hip problems at the time the Leafs executed the buyout. Cowen was acquired late last season as part of the Dion Phaneuf trade but Toronto allowed him to go home early to work on rehabbing his hip.
If Cowen wins and has his contract reinstated, the Leafs will technically be over the salary cap. However, given that Cowen isn’t healthy enough to play, he would be eligible to be placed on long-term injury reserve which would get them back under. There is no timetable for the arbitrator to make his decision.
More from the Atlantic:
- Detroit’s Dylan Larkin is off to a slow start this season but as Ansar Khan of MLive writes, part of his struggles could be attributed to his conversion back to center. Last season – in his rookie campaign – the team often played him on the left wing to take some of the pressure off of him. With long-time Red Wing Pavel Datsyuk now retired from the NHL, the team needs Larkin to step into his vacated position at center. Through four games, the 20 year old has a single assist and a -5 rating although he has been a bit better at the faceoff dot, winning 44.4% of his draws which is above his 41% mark from last season.
- Boston center Patrice Bergeron is on track to make his season debut tonight against New Jersey, Joe Haggerty of CSN New England reports. He has missed the first three games of the season so far and should step back into his top line role assuming there are no setbacks. Boston coach Claude Julien also noted that defenseman Adam McQuaid won’t play against the Devils but he believes the blueliner is only a few days away from returning to the lineup.
- The Lightning re-assigned defenseman Slater Koekkoek to the minors yesterday but Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times believes that the demotion will be a short-lived one. Koekkoek has yet to play this season despite making the opening night roster and with him being waiver exempt, he’s expected to get into a couple of AHL games to stay in game shape before being recalled sometime next week.