Keep it Simple, Komisarek

Gus Katsaros
January 17 2013 10:12AM

First, stop hurting your teammates. 

Firing pucks and injuring Leafs winger, James Van Riemsdyk is only the latest incident.

Mike Komisarek has not lived up to the $4.5 million cap hit signed as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2009. That much is crystal clear.

With two more seasons, barring a trade or buy out at the end of the 2013 season – a likely candidate – Komisarek must make adjustments in his game. No longer can he aimlessly seek targets for body contact, he has to change things up.

It’s doubtful he can ever justify the $4.5 million cap, and never did, but with some tweaks and a lower, altered expectation, for a specific role, not the cap hit, he could still be of use.

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Leafs ship Matthew Lombardi to Coyotes

Cam Charron
January 16 2013 06:49PM

I think for those of us expecting a bigger trade, this one sorely disappoints. It does, however, clear up some issues for the Leafs' roster this Saturday, namely the team's logjam at centre.

As it happens, Toronto couldn't collect any assets for Matthew Lombardi. The pick is a 4th rounder in next year's draft, or a 3rd if Lombardi re-signs with the Coyotes or "meets certain stats". That's likely a games played threshold, given Lombardi's concussion issues in the last three seasons. It's not a salary dump, because the Leafs are loaded with cap space this season.

Unfortunately, Matthew Lombardi did not work out in Toronto, with 8 goals in 62 games. He did his job, though, as the Leafs paid him so Nashville wouldn't have to, and in return the Predators exchanged Brett Lebda for Cody Franson. With Franson re-signing, that deal looks a bit better now.

The Leafs are still overloaded down the middle, with Tyler Bozak, Mikhail Grabovski, David Steckel, Jay McClement, and Tim Connolly on the depth chart, all of them legitimate NHLers. One of them may have to slide over to wing.

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Ron Wilson's effect on goalies

Cam Charron
January 16 2013 01:30PM

Even though Ron Wilson has been fired, it's still interesting to look back on his career and what he did with his goaltenders. Like I mentioned earlier, Dave Tippett and Ken Hitchcock's goalies can expect higher save percentages in those systems.

Wilson, however, well, let's just say the goaltending record in his time as coach was awful. The Leafs have bounced from below-average starter to below-average starter. The Leafs haven't had a goaltender play 50 games in a season since Vesa Toskala in 2008-2009, and they haven't had a goalie play 50 games in three consecutive seasons since Curtis Joseph between 1999-2002.

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Randy Carlyle's effect on goalies

Cam Charron
January 16 2013 12:16PM

Here are a few tables to get you going this year, whether or not Randy Carlyle improves a team's goaltenders. I used the same methods as I did for my similar pieces on Ken Hitchcock's and Dave Tippett's goaltenders, which found that goalies who played in those systems could expect a small increase in save percentages.

So I did the same thing for Randy Carlyle and here are the results. Basically, I looked at how goalies since 1998 through 2012 fared at even strength with Carlyle behind the bench and without Carlyle behind the bench. Given that Carlyle wasn't working with a full deck last season in Toronto, I excluded Toronto goalies from the study, but his Anaheim goalies from last season are included.

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Should the Leafs sign any of the "big three" RFAs to an offer sheet?

Cam Charron
January 15 2013 11:07AM

From Flames Nation: Outside the Box: Sign Ryan O'Reilly to an offer sheet

Dave Nonis didn't sign any other teams' restricted free agents when he was the general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, but he felt the pinch when Ryan Kesler was signed to a $1.9M offer sheet in the summer of 2006. I never got the sense Nonis was too rattled, and kept quiet on the topic of offer sheets for his tenure. 

Of course, opting to take the deal in the stead of two Philadelphia selections turned out to be the wise move. If Nonis failed to surround the Canucks with talent when he was the general manager, he certainly had a knack for locking up pieces eventually used by Mike Gillis to bring the team to within a game of the final.

But what about signing players to offer sheets? Toronto has all of their draft picks available save this year's 4th round selection, so they could sign any offer sheet to any restricted free agent available. There are a few interesting RFAs available, but the three most intriguing ones are Ryan O'Reilly, Jamie Benn, and Pernell Karl Subban.

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