Most of the photos of Komarov are of him causing a ruckus in front of the net.
Per James Mirtle the Leafs have officially signed 2006 6th round pick Leo Komarov to a one year contract. It’s an entry level deal “with a cap hit of $1.2-million ($850,000 in base salary with another $350,000 in potential bonuses)”. Here is why you should be excited about a move that would go unnoticed among most other franchises.
First and Foremost Komarov, unlike recent members of the Leafs 4th line, can actually play hockey. Mirtle quotes his agent describing Leo’s play:
"Leo has been a fan favourite everywhere he’s played," Larva said. "He’s a great skater, finishes checks… and kills penalties effectively. He’s played in many different roles in different teams and molds into coach’s plans like a chameleon – very versatile player that is."
This is exactly the type of skill set that is needed on the 3rd and 4th lines.
Second, he signed short-term and for cheap. Colton Orr was signed for four years! While his cap hit was marginal that commitment takes away a roster spot unless he is demoted to the Marlies or traded. The one year contract gives the Leafs some flexibility going into next season and mitigates the risk of signing a player whose NHL talent is unknown. It also gives Komarov something to prove.
Most importantly this deal prevents Burke from throwing stacks of money at some plug UFA like George Parros, Brandon Prust, or Travi Moen. These guys have the same skillset but will cost twice as much and sign for twice as long. While the Leafs need help up and down the line-up filling the bottom six with bloated contracts like Colby Armstrong’s is a recipe for another lottery pick. While Komarov may not contribute anything on the ice, preventing the Leafs from overpaying a UFA makes the deal a steal already.
Great Job John Ferguson Junior!
2006 is turning out to be quite the Draft for the Leafs. JFJ had 7 picks that year. 4 have already played in the NHL with the Leafs and look to be regulars either here or elsewhere. (Tlusty, Reimer, Kulemin, Stalberg) Both Holzer and Komarov will get a shot with the Leafs next season. That leaves Tyler Ruegsegger as they only player drafted that year without a future in the NHL. Where is Tyler now? Why he played 4 games with the Abbotsford Heat in the AHL last season. Maybe he’ll get a shot with the Flames. While Leafs fans are loathe to give JFJ any credit, that draft has turned out pretty well for the Leafs. Good job JFJ! Excuse me while I go take a shower.