Leafs Make More Cuts, Komisarek Survives

The Leafs have trimmed their preseason roster again, sending Luca Caputi, Joe Colborne, Ryan Hamilton, Marcel Mueller, Kenny Ryan, Greg Scott, Mike Zigomanis, Jesse Blacker, Jeff Finger, Simon Gysbers, Korbinian Holzer, Juraj Mikus and Mark Owuya to the Marlies per James Mirtle.

Most of those guys barely played, but aside from just spreading the news far and wide there’s some interesting thoughts here. Caputi has to clear waivers and I wonder if he’s a young enough recognizable name to get snagged.

Joe Colborne had a decent training camp but sending him down is likely the right move. Hopefully he can have a big season in the AHL as he continues to make his case for a spot with the Leafs. Given that Tim Connolly is the Leafs first line center there’s a good chance Colborne will see duty between Lupul and Kessel when Connolly is hurt.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Names not included in these cuts are Nazem Kadri, Matt Frattin and Jake Gardiner. Kadri’s expected to make the team and Frattin has played well this preseason. It’ll be interesting to see the rest of the preseason games as the two of them are likely battling for a spot on the third line LW along with Bozak/Lombardi and Armstrong.

But that’s another wrinkle. David Shoalts says Matthew Lombardi is cleared for contact and will likely be on the opening night roster. If Lombardi is ready and Frattin is a potential NHLer this season does that give the Leafs the ability to run two scoring lines in their bottom six?

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Kadri – Lombardi – Frattin could be your sheltered scoring with Brown – Bozak – Armstrong as your sheltered scoring with more of a forecheck. It’s an interesting thought for a Leafs team that got almost no production out of their bottom six last season.

Jake Gardiner sticking with the team and being described by Wilson as "our best defenseman" sets up another battle. The Leafs D in my mind shakes into two categories. The guys who have absolutely locked a job with the Leafs this year are: Dion Phaneuf, Luke Schenn, John-Michael Liles, and Cody Franson. The young bubble players are Carl Gunnarsson, Keith Aulie, Jake Gardiner. Mike Komisarek is the elephant in the room. Yesterday we found out per Shoalts that Komisarek might not have the NMC that Capgeek says he does.

A sidenote: this is not confirmation that you were right all along about Komisarek being sent to the Marlies. Shoalts’ article yesterday is a bombshell: it fundamentally changes the analysis of Mike Komisarek’s role with the Toronto Maple Leafs. If you thought Komisarek was going to the Marlies before reading Shoalts’ article you weren’t a visionary and you certainly have no place to say "I told you so" unless you had chatted with Brian Burke and in exchange for your wonderful company he gave you a peek at the actual paper contract.

Are the Leafs willing to stuff Komisarek in the AHL with Jeff Finger? That’s over $8M in salary down there along with Brian Burke having to swallow his pride and stuff one of his biggest UFA signings in the minors. I’m not sure I see this happening even though I’d really like to.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The other option is a trade. The idea that a cap floor team would want Komisarek doesn’t make a lot of sense. If they wanted to torch cap space they’d have made a splash in free agency. I can’t see any team wanting Komisarek for free even, I think the Leafs would have to be on the wrong end of a Lebda for Franson and Lombardi trade to move him.

As good as Gardiner has been I think the right thing to do for now is to send him to the Marlies and use Komisarek as the team’s seventh d-man in the press box. Gardiner can play big minutes in the AHL and work on running a power play at the professional level. After this season there’d only be two more years of Komisarek and he’d only be owed $7M total. I think burying him next summer is a much more palatable option, especially with Jeff Finger’s contract expiring after this season.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    I stopped reading after I saw “there’s a good chance Colborne will see duty between Lupul and Kessel when Connolly is hurt.”

    So off-the-mark. No chance it will be Colborne filling in on that line.

  • Thanks for your input Rob. You make a pretty convincing point.

    Let me know what username and password you’d like so you can take over this blog and gift us your clearly superior intellect.

  • Re: Pension Plan Puppets

    “No chance whatsoever except that the one time Colborne played in the NHL he played on that line.

    I’m guessing you’d say it’ll be Bozak or Dupuis?

    Ya, you got it. Colborne is too slow in foot speed and decision-making and too far down the depth chart. I think even Kadri would fill in before Colborne. If Lombardi is healthy, he would be before Colborne too.

    The only ways Colborne gets slotted into 1st line are if the Leafs are already eliminated from the playoff hunt or if there is a rapture and he’s the only atheist centre.

    • Connolly and Lombardi were brought in specifically because the Leafs don’t think that he can play with Kessel.

      Dupuis is a grinder. They may go with Bozak but if his line with Armstrong and Kadri (presumably) is working then they’ll call up Colborne.

  • Re: “No chance whatsoever except that the one time Colborne played in the NHL he played on that line.”
    Re: I mean, Colborne played between Kessel and Lupul in his only NHL game my idea is ridiculous.

    Yes, that line of reasoning IS ridiculous.
    Colborne played that game on April 9th, the LAST game of the year. I’m fairly certain the Leafs were already eliminated from playoff contention and Wilson was just giving the guy a look.

  • Re: “Huh. You think Colborne is a bad prospect. We had guessed you stopped reading because you hit your daily 100 word limit.”

    No, I don’t think Colborne is a bad prospect but that he is still ONLY a prospect.

    I’m guessing Wilson was looking for the same thing from Colborne during pre-season that I was, to see if he could adjust to the speed of the NHL… he couldn’t and got sent down.

    What I think Colborne needs is a new trainer.
    He needs to spend next summer with a guy like Gary Roberts to whip him into shape and increase his speed. I think either his current regimen isn’t giving him enough leg power or he isn’t following it.

    • Colborne’s faster but he’ll never look like a fast skater because he’s so tall. It’s the same reason people thought Antropov was too slow and that Mahovlich was lazy.

      He’s fast enough and he’s the Leafs’ top centre prospect so unless they are going to slot in a 4th line scrub alongside Kessel (I mean, for a third straight season) then…

  • @Pension Plan Puppets

    I’ll believe it when I see it.
    I don’t think Colborne would be more capable than even grinder Dupuis… not yet anyway… I still think he can get better and hope he does, cuz he’s big and smart with a good skillset.

    But.. when other players skate circles around Colborne, it isn’t because he’s tall, it’s because he’s slow. I’m not fooled by an optical illusion.

  • P.S.
    Colborne ALMOST makes up for being slow by being good at protecting the puck when he has it, often long enough to make a pretty pass…. but only almost, he’s a big liability still.

    If Colborne ends up with a scoring role on the Leafs this year, barring some miraculous improvement first or a slew of injuries, then Wilson is a terrible coach and playoffs chances are slim.