Mini-Review: Early Acquisitions

It’s been a heck of a start to the offseason, hasn’t it?
Teams have been coming out swinging, throwing about half a billion dollars at
players in an attempt to make themselves better. The Leafs? Well, they’ve made
some moves, but none of them have really been swing for the fences. Me? I’ve
been half way across the country as everything shakes down. Here’s a few
scattered thoughts.

Komarov signing

I’m so, so happy to see Leo Komarov back in Toronto. He’s
one of my favourite hockey players on the planet. Not because I think he’s
super gifted, but his ability to change a game by pissing people off is
arguably the best of any player in any league right now. Beyond that, he draws
penalties, kills penalties, throws the body, and throws the play into the
offensive zone. What more can you ask for?

Production. That’s what you can ask for. For him to be worth
$3 million, he’s going to have to be a better point getter than he was during
the 2012/13 season. I mean technically, he was scoring at a rate that DavidClarkson struggled with this past year for $2.3 million more, but the bar
shouldn’t be set that low.

However, I do think that Komarov is capable of doing more on
that side of the ice than he did before. He lead Dynamo Moscow in scoring this
year, showed he could keep up with better linemates during the lockout (though
Ovechkin and Backstrom is a pretty cruise-control pair to work with), and while
he didn’t put up big numbers, showed he could at least contribute to Team
Finland in the Olympics and World Championships.

I think for him, it comes down to how Randy Carlyle uses
him, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it be a bit more favourable than last
time around, where he received brutal zone starts and situational assignments.
You’d have to assume that he’d take Nikolai Kulemin’s role on the third line,
and find himself with more penalty kill minutes.

Something I’d like to see tried at least once? Him and
Clarkson together during an intense, rivalry or high implication game. It could
be a disaster (Clarkson cancelling out every Komarov penalty drawn), or it
could be the best thing ever (imagine the Bash Brothers from the Mighty Ducks
movie series, in real life, with more languages to chirp in). Though they may
be a little talent lacking. I guess we’ll see.

Robidas Signing

Stephane Robidas seems like an interesting add. When
healthy, he’s got as good of a shot as anybody to play on the top pair with
Phaneuf, or at least allow the second pairing to take on more of the high-grade
minutes. He’s been a reliable player throughout his career, and can probably
teach the kids a thing or two.

I’m worried about two things, however. The first is his
injury history. As you probably have heard, he’s had this little issue where
his career basically almost ended thanks to a leg break. You have to imagine
that will put a damper on his mobility a bit, and another serious incident will
surely wrap things up for him.

This leads me to my second issue. Robidas is over 35 years
old, which means that his entire salary stays on the books if he retires. It’s
a way to get around the “retirement deals” a la Chris Pronger’s contract with
Philadelphia. In the event that something does happen that fully makes him
unable to play, the Leafs are safe. Looking at Pronger again, he suffered a
career-ending injury (against the Leafs!) and Philadelphia’s way of getting
around it is by having him not retire and placing him on the Long-Term Injured
Reserve. But if Robidas just loses a step and decides he’s good but not good
enough, the Leafs are stuck with his deal. It may be better than playing him if
he turns terrible, but it’s still not a great scenario.

With that said, having a minute eater is important, and at
$3 million, he’s a step in the right direction, as long as he stays healthy.

Lastly, I’m starting to warm up to the two trades that were
made. I initially had them in favour of St. Louis and Columbus, but you know
what? Maybe there’s some logic.

The Trades

In the Polak trade, one has to remember that Carl Gunnarsson
has played an extended period of time with a bad him. He’s getting corrective
surgery done, but that’s a heck of a risk. If it works, St. Louis has an
awesome player and the egg is on Toronto’s face. If it doesn’t, he’s going to
see an early decline in his ability.

As for D’Amigo for Frattin, I’m not wholly against the idea
of trying one last time to turn Matt Frattin into a top six winger. He seemed
to do well with Kadri and Lupul in 12/13, and has a heck of a release. If he
comes to training camp in good shape and with a bit of commitment, the Leafs
could have a better player on the cheap. Barring that, he could line up with
Peter Holland and give the team some depth that can actually play hockey. That
would be a change of pace. 

  • Let’s be real: the Leafs are having a very meh offseason so far – Robidas is a risk, Komarov is overpaid – but it feels like an incredible offseason because of what most of us thought was going to happen.

    Thank you Tallon *clap clap clapclapclap*

  • This is the worst leaf off season I can remember.

    And every other GM had better off seasons then Nonis. Burke did better by signing a younger engelland to a cheaper contract then ancient Robidas on crutches. And Komarov – give me a break. We could emulated Wilson of the sharks, who are one of higest corsi teams in the NHL and taken a quality player like John Scott for 1/3 of Komrov’s salary to add that element of grit, character and toughness. But of course we did not because Nonis hates possession unlike Wilson.

    And why bother trading for Polak as we had Gleason or for that matter Komisarek that are much better options who can skate, defend and add back end character.

    Every move if you look it at rationally and without bias like I do, was completely stupidity and irrationale on the part of Nonis.
    #fire Nonis.

    • Since John Scott’s rookie year of ’08-’09, he has failed to draw more penalties than he takes, has had two years of a positive relative corsi (6.6 in 09-10 and 1.4 in 12-13) and hasn’t had an above 50% finish in the Offensive zone since said rookie year.

      Komorov in limited action of 42 games in 12-13 drew more penalties than he took (.7/60 versus 1.2 penalties drawn per 60 minutes.), played more ice time (double in fact that year at 11.89 minutes per 60 versus 5.39 minutes per 60), and had his team finishing in the offensive zone more often than they were starting.

      I don’t think you used facts to back up your adjective of “quality” player when referring to John Scott. The best thing he’s done on the ice in three years was get Clarkson suspended in a fight in preseason.

      If you think Komorov is here just for “grit, character and toughness”, I’d have to disagree. His possession numbers show that he drives the play forward, his relative Corsi is positive and he has already been trusted at almost 12 minutes a night by this staff.

      I really think the perception of Komorov is skewed because he was a league leader in hits and plays a little nasty. However, he is a good player. He might be the Kulemin replacement as in he can play every role and is a smart enough player to not be goaded into stupid penalties (small sample size though).

      As for Robidas and Polak, I don’t disagree with you on them per se. Robidas can be a good player if he rebounds from a broken leg. Depending on the break, he could come back with very little ill-effects. Polak though can slot into the 5th-6th spot well. Why trade Gunnar? We must have thought his hip was kaput. If that’s what the medical staff said and its true, then its not a horrible trade (a broken Gunnar was pretty awful last year).

      I don’t think Nonis is the one who hates possession, or believes stronger in the power of shot selection is maybe a better way of putting it. That falls on the large shoulders of our head coach and the staff.

      I’m all for firing Nonis, but I’d be more apt to point to his Komisarek buyout and Grabbo buyout coupled with the Clarkson signing. The fact that there is a member of the front office who is in charge of the salary cap is what is most damning of all. This team spends money on a salary cap manager, which they went over by the way, and nothing in their budget on analytic research. That’s why Nonis should be fired.

    • Since John Scott’s rookie year of ’08-’09, he has failed to draw more penalties than he takes, has had two years of a positive relative corsi (6.6 in 09-10 and 1.4 in 12-13) and hasn’t had an above 50% finish in the Offensive zone since said rookie year.

      Komorov in limited action of 42 games in 12-13 drew more penalties than he took (.7/60 versus 1.2 penalties drawn per 60 minutes.), played more ice time (double in fact that year at 11.89 minutes per 60 versus 5.39 minutes per 60), and had his team finishing in the offensive zone more often than they were starting.

      I don’t think you used facts to back up your adjective of “quality” player when referring to John Scott. The best thing he’s done on the ice in three years was get Clarkson suspended in a fight in preseason.

      If you think Komorov is here just for “grit, character and toughness”, I’d have to disagree. His possession numbers show that he drives the play forward, his relative Corsi is positive and he has already been trusted at almost 12 minutes a night by this staff.

      I really think the perception of Komorov is skewed because he was a league leader in hits and plays a little nasty. However, he is a good player. He might be the Kulemin replacement as in he can play every role and is a smart enough player to not be goaded into stupid penalties (small sample size though).

      As for Robidas and Polak, I don’t disagree with you on them per se. Robidas can be a good player if he rebounds from a broken leg. Depending on the break, he could come back with very little ill-effects. Polak though can slot into the 5th-6th spot well. Why trade Gunnar? We must have thought his hip was kaput. If that’s what the medical staff said and its true, then its not a horrible trade (a broken Gunnar was pretty awful last year).

      I don’t think Nonis is the one who hates possession, or believes stronger in the power of shot selection is maybe a better way of putting it. That falls on the large shoulders of our head coach and the staff.

      I’m all for firing Nonis, but I’d be more apt to point to his Komisarek buyout and Grabbo buyout coupled with the Clarkson signing. The fact that there is a member of the front office who is in charge of the salary cap is what is most damning of all. This team spends money on a salary cap manager, which they went over by the way, and nothing in their budget on analytic research. That’s why Nonis should be fired.