Things seem to be getting more and more complicated between the Toronto Maple Leafs and defenseman Jared Cowen.
The blue liner was placed on the injured reserve list last season almost immediately after being acquired by the Leafs in the Dion Phaneuf trade for supposed hip tightness. Once he was cleared to play, though, he was waived – and then was subsequently taken off the team’s active roster for the remainder of the season.
Once the first summer buyout period hit, the Leafs placed the former first round pick defenseman on unconditional waivers, intending to buy him out of the final year of his contract.
Upon clearing waivers, though, the team hit a snag in their buyout plan. Cowen claims that the aftereffects of surgery undergone in 2012 have left him with lingering injuries. As a result, he underwent surgery at the end of this past season at a doctor’s recommendation, which rendered him unable to be bought out.
Now, the team and the player are expected to have a grievance hearing to try and sort the situation out:
For the Leafs, the ability to buy out the defenseman would help the team immensely with cap constraints, so they undoubtedly want to see something resolved in their favor. The fact that Cowen was cleared to play before being assigned to the AHL last year raises questions – and the fact that he was able to play half the season with the Senators before getting dealt does as well, since the claim is that his lingering injury dates back to 2012.
With no date confirmed publicly for the grievance, though, it’s hard to tell whether a resolution will be reached any time soon.