Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Me and the boys and our 50

As you likely well know, the Leafs have signed 22 year old prospect Christian Hanson out of the NCAA.

Clearly, the Leafs organization has an affinity for NCAA players with upwards of nine playing in their system, most of whom were drafted by the JFJ led Leafs.

The last signing of this type by the Leafs that I can recall is Mike Johnson who signed with the Leafs out of Bowling Green back in 1997. I'm not sure that's the most recent example, but it's certainly the only one that comes to mind - possibly due to my diminishing mental prowess and possibly due to the lack of innovative impact signings the Leafs have been able to pull off over the last fifteen years.

Rumours persist that Burke is pursuing a few more NCAA prospects, which brings up the issue of Standard Player Contracts (SPCs) and why it was so important for the Leafs to shed bodies at the trade deadline.

As I wrote about when the Leafs waived Bell and Kronwall, NHL teams are limited to having a maximum of 50 players signed to SPCs for any given season. the loss of Bell, Kronwall, Moore and Antropov put the Leafs at about 45 SPCs. Since that time they have signed Harrison (46), Hamilton (47), Berry (48) and now Hanson (49).

That means the Leafs have one more spot open to sign an NCAA prospect and one big loophole to play with.

According to the CBA section 50.8 (d), the Leafs can tender contracts to undrafted free agents that are post-dated to next season and so long as the Leafs don't exceed 50 SPCs for a given July 1 to June 30 period, they are in compliance with the CBA.

As the Leafs have 13 contracts expiring on June 1, Burke has lots of wriggle room to sign NCAA prospects for next year with one competitive disadvantage: anyone signed to a post-dated SPC can't play for the Leafs or Marlies this year.

For those of you who scratched your head when the Leafs dealt for Hollweg, you can add the possible loss of a NCAA prospect due to SPC limits to your list, along with that fifth-round pick that was spent to acquire him, in your hate email to Fletcher.

For an excellent summary of the various roster limits and exemptions you should read this; there's on-going discussion of the Hanson signing over at PPP and a nice piece from Alex Tran at Maple Leaf Hot Stove here.



    I feel like Fletcher lost a bet to Sather in a card game and this was him squaring up.

    I don't know that it'll handicap the Leafs too much because the kids can sign amateur tryout contracts (as noted by WCHBlog) and they'll likely be more interested in ice-time going forward rather than right now.

  2. In your calculation of SPCs you failed to include Reitz, Gerber, Kolzig, Heward (though I think players lost for the season don't count) and players dropped from the Marlies lineup. I think the count is 48 with Hanson. Though I may be wrong.

  3. Pseudonym - Sorry, my head count wasn't intended to be comprehensive, more of a summary.

    If you click on the link to Alex Tran's article, he's got a list up which puts the Leafs at 49 (including Reitz, Gerber, Kolzig, etc.)