June 10 2013 12:43PM
Dynamo Moscow GM confirms Leo Komarov comeback. He will sign with Dynamo the same contract he had before he left for the Leafs this Tuesday.— Andrey Osadchenko (@AOsadchenko) June 10, 2013
via Nations' roving Russian correspondant and Andrey Osadchenko, and corroborated by Yahoo! Sports' Russian reporter extraordinaire Dmitry Chesnokov, it appears as if yesterday's reports are true, and that restricted free agent Leo Komarov has signed with his old KHL club.
This is a tough pill to swallow, since Komarov's versatility meant he could be plugged into any bottom six spot, and did so for 48 games last year while being the third most common penalty killer on the Leafs. Komarov averaged 13:56 in ice time last season, but 1:48 of that was on the penalty kill.
Despite his limited time at evens and lack of consistent linemates, Komarov had a +4.8 relative Corsi this season, meaning the Leafs directed more shots on goal with Komarov on the ice than without. That was 6th among regular Leafs forwards, which is quite remarkable that when you consider when he wasn't on the ice with Nazem Kadri, he tended to be on a checking unit with Mikhail Grabovski and rarely saw the offensive end of the ice.
Also, as a legitimate pest, Komarov was one of three players that drew more than 1.0 penalties per 60 minutes of ice-time. He was second on the Leafs in drawn minor penalties with 10 in 5-on-5 situations (behind just Nazem Kadri's... 32) and took just 6 on his own.
I'd have his value pegged at between $1-million to $1.5-million for another year or so. His offensive numbers are better in Moscow, playing on more traditional scoring lines, but he showed this season that he has a lot of value as a checker as well. He contributed on one of the league's most improved PK units and saw time on a bottom six that spent time almost exclusively started at the defensive end of the ice.
For a team that had enough trouble icing its facepunchers instead of useful players this season, Komarov represents a big loss because finding talented players that can check and are content with defensive roles are pretty tough to find. Factor in that the team doesn't seem to be interested in re-signing Clarke MacArthur, and that leaves a couple of big holes in the bottom six. They're easier holes to fill than, say, on the first line or the second defensive pairing, but it will be a challenge for Nonis to find those useful, versatile players that can kill and draw penalties.