Everybody’s favourite Estonian-born, Swedish-speaking, Russian-developed Finn is about to represent the Leafs on the biggest stage you could possibly play on without any actual significance. This, of course, refers to the NHL All-Star game, which will be played in just a few weeks in Nashville.
Besides being a fan favourite, Komarov is being used in a drastically different role than in previous years with fantastic results. Mike Babcock has shifted Komarov towards a top-six forward role that sees him creating high-danger chances in front of the net. Because of this, Komarov has 15 goals and 12 assists in 37 games, already setting career highs in both goals and points despite playing 25 games fewer than last season.
Joining Komarov on Team Atlantic Division are Patrice Bergeron (Boston), Dylan Larkin (Detroit), Ryan O’Rielly (Buffalo), Aaron Ekblad (Florida), Erik Karlsson (Ottawa), PK Subban (Montreal), Ben Bishop (Tampa Bay), and Roberto Luongo (Florida). Florida’s Jaromir Jagr, known for his puck protection skills, great quotes, and immortality, is the Team’s Captain. As well, this will give Komarov an opportunity to play with future teammate Steven Stamkos, who is currently playing out the last few months of his contract with Tampa Bay.
This will be Komarov’s first appearance at the NHL All-Star game, but it’s not his first time playing in an event like this. He’s a two-time KHL All-Star, having represented Dynamo Moscow in 2010/11 and 2013/14. The nomination gives him an opportunity to have fun on camera, party off-camera, and potentially win his share of a $1 million purse at the conclusion of the four-team 3-on-3 tournament.