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Swedish defenseman Jonas Frogren buys out own contract to join Maple Leafs

When the term “buy out” gets used, it usually refers to teams throwing money at players to make them go away. In the case of Jonas Frogren, it was the other way around.

The Swedish defenseman bought out the remainder of his own contract with Farjestad of the Swedish League to sign a two-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Originally a 1998 Flames draft pick, Frogren has spent the past nine seasons with Farjestad. Last season the 6-foot-2, 194-pounder had one assist and 38 PIM in 47 games.

Some hefty financial backing helped the 27-year-old blueliner make the transaction. Frogren’s deal is one-way pact worth $450,000 in Year 1 and $900,000 in Year 2. It also includes a $700,000 signing bonus, part of which – rumored in Swedish newspapers to be $400,000 - was used to get out of the Farjestad deal.

“I was compensated for it by the Leafs,” Frogren told the Swedish media. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to buy out my contract with Farjestad.”

In the absence of a player transfer agreement between the NHL and IIHF, teams associated with both organizations have agreed not to go after players currently under contract on either side of the Atlantic.

The NHL’s collective bargaining agreement prevents teams from negotiating individual release fees with each other, but by giving Frogren the money directly by way of a salary – which will count against the cap – the Leafs found a way to get it done.

While it’s unclear exactly how much money was required to buy out Frogren’s existing contract, Farjestad appears happy with the exchange.

“We wanted to get a reasonable compensation for him, more than we would’ve got under the old transfer agreement, and we got it,” said Farjestad GM Thomas Rundqvist.

Under the old pact, NHL teams paid out a transfer fee of roughly $200,000 for a player.

- with files from Risto Pakarinen

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