"The Toronto Maple Leafs acknowledge and apologize for the error of judgment. The club accepts the punishment handed down by the League and will not be commenting further on the matter."
-- Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke
A $755,000 signing bonus to defenseman Jonas Frogren
has cost the Toronto Maple Leafs
Due to the fact that the bonus violated the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NHL stripped the Leafs of a fourth-round draft pick on Wednesday night. Toronto was also fined $500,000.
Frogren signed a two-year contract with the Leafs last July, and the NHL says its decision won't affect his contractual status with the team.
''The Toronto Maple Leafs
acknowledge and apologize for the error of judgment,'' Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke
said in a statement. ''The club accepts the punishment handed down by the League and will not be commenting further on the matter."
It's believed Frogren used a portion of the signing bonus -- $400,000 -- to free himself of the final year of his contract with Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League.
Burke was not the GM when the signing occurred. He was still general manager of the Anaheim Ducks
; Cliff Fletcher was in charge of the Leafs at the time.
The issue surrounds the amount Frogren received in the signing bonus as the NHL deemed Frogren to be an entry-level player at the time.
"We can confirm that the Toronto Maple Leafs
have been sanctioned by the League for violations of League Rules in connection with the club's 2008 signing of Jonas Frogren
, and that one aspect of the League-imposed discipline requires the forfeiture of the club's fourth-Round draft pick in the 2009 Entry Draft (previously acquired from Tampa Bay)," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. "We have no further comment on the matter."
Material from wire services was used in this report.