Exit Interviews: Komarov, Rielly

By now you should know the drill – we’re going through the entire Leafs roster from this past season, breaking down their contributions, and trying to figure out what their future looks like in Toronto. We’ve also developed a super complex rating systems for the occasion. That’s right – Canucks Army isn’t the only Nations website that knows how to develop proprietary algorithms and number things. Nerds.

And hey, if you’re unsure how the Kyle Dubas Head Ranking System works, don’t worry. We’re working on a 28-page guide to cover all of the details. We’ll release it eventually. Or not.

Leo Komarov

Leo Komarov was one of Toronto’s most relied upon forwards this season, and also one of their most (relatively) dangerous offensive threats. Are 36 points in 67 games really all that impressive? Absolutely not, but it was enough to make Komarov the Leafs’ All-Star Game representative. 

Perhaps what’s most impressive of Komarov’s game this year is how much it improved under Mike Babcock. This could probably be said about many of the players in the lineup this year, but take a look at Komarov’s possession numbers in particular. Last year, after returning from the KHL and playing under Randy Carlyle and Peter Horachek, Komarov earned a pretty abysmal 46.9 CF%. This year he improved all the way up to 53.3 CF%. That’s a pretty significant jump, and perhaps a strong indication that Komarov is more than just an energy or role player that many of us thought he might be.

Komarov’s Future:

With two more years left on his contract, carrying a $2.95M contract, Komarov’s immediate future appears to be in Toronto. That said, Komarov is one of the older members of the Leafs roster and will be 31 when his deal is up. No, that’s not that old, but with the sheer amount of youth coming up through the organization, Komarov may be deemed expendable. If the Leafs find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture next season, I wouldn’t be surprised if Komarov is dangled for a fairly good draft pick or prospect, but there’s no denying he fits in well with the club at present and I would be just as happy to see him finish out his contract in Toronto before making a decision on his long-term future.

Ranking:

Four-out-of-five Kyle Dubas Heads for Komarov. He has his limitations, but it’s safe to say that Komarov exceeded expectations this season and earned himself a few more fans.

Four Kyles

Morgan Rielly

In his third year of professional hockey, and his first under Babcock, Morgan Rielly took that big next step in his development this season. Leading the Leafs’ blueline in goals (9), assists (27), and average time-on-ice (23:13), Rielly was Babcock’s go-to defenceman pretty much all season, and he rose to the occasion.

Now, that’s not to say Rielly has ‘arrived’. I wager his best work has yet to come. Most top defencemen in the league play on average three-to-five minutes more every night and the Leafs defended largely by committee this season. That said, Rielly is on the right track. 

Rielly’s Future:

Rielly is an enormous part of the Leafs’ future going forward, and his new six-year contract cements that. Some might knock his defensive play but he’s a top-pairing player right now and one would assume that, being only 22-years old, Rielly still has some untapped potential. Now it’s just a matter of finding him a long-term defensive partner. Jake Gardiner could be that guy, but both are probably better suited to playing on the left. 

Ranking:

I give Morgan Rielly four-out-of-five Kyle Dubas Heads for his solid play this year and another half a Kyle Dubas Head for having to play so much with Matt Hunwick.

Four and a Half Kyles

  • Harte of a Lion

    Justin, glad to see your finally on the Komarov train. I’d love to see him remain in Toronto and re-up his contract as he has a lot to teach the kids like Soshnikov, Valiev and Zaitsev as well as being a mentor to Dzierkals who said in an interview he looks up to Uncle Leo.

    I give you 4 Dubas heads for your reporting with TLN.