No immediate decision to be made in Jared Cowen dispute

Photo Credit: Winslow Townson/USA TODAY SPORTS

Leafs fans today were excited to hear that there was a light at the end of the tunnel involving Jared Cowen’s controversial buyout, but it seems like we might still have some time to wait before a decision is made. According to reports, the decision might take a couple of days to actually come down.

This is a bit of a shame for those eager for news, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter a ton. As it stands, the Leafs are operating under the assumption that they will be successful in their grievance hearing, and their cap situation presently reflects that.

If they are successful, Cowen will have a $650,000 cap credit this year and a $750,000 penalty in 2017/18, leaving them with roughly $800,000 in present cap space for the year. If they aren’t, his full $3.1 million hit will be placed on the team, putting them over the limit. At the same time, this will also be an acknowledgment that he is unfit to play, and will likely lead to one either Nathan Horton, Stephane Robidas or himself to be placed on Long-Term Injured reserve to get back to $0.

Cowen was originally acquired from the Ottawa Senators in February, at which point we pointed out within minutes that a buyout option would be ideal. The Leafs cleared him as fit to play and attempted to move him before the deadline, but found no suitors. To ensure that he wouldn’t get re-injured, Cowen was shut down for the season by Leafs management

That’s where the situation gets murky. Cowen underwent surgery on some nagging hip ailments, and after being waived, claimed that his buyout was impossible with him being unfit to play. Which leads to this week, where an arbitrator decides whether Cowen’s inability was caused by his own decision to undergo surgery or whether the Leafs overstated his health.

The outcome? Well, we’ll see soon enough. But not today.