When Maple Leafs General Manage Brian Burke traded Francois Beauchemin a few years ago – one of his best trades, perhaps his best – he publicly stated he was fixing a mistake.
This statement was really strange to many of us given that Beauchemin, though inconsistent, was still infinitely better than the other defenseman Burke signed that same summer of 2009, one Mike Komisarek. (A signing I must admit I hesitantly supported at the time in that I thought he would be a decent player but I was scared of the size of the contract. I didn’t think he was worth so much and didn’t understand why he was paid that much.)
This is what Mike Komisarek has brought to the Leafs since that fabled 2009 free agent contract:
- 2009-2010 season: In 34 games played, Komisarek played 19:56 Average Time On Ice and had a line of 0 Goals, 4 Assists for 4 Points, -9 for $4 million for the season
- 2010-2011 season: In 75 games, Komisarek played 13:38 Average Time On Ice and had a line of 1 Goal, 9 Assists for 10 Points, -8 for $6 million for the season
- 2011-2012 season: In 45 games, Komisarek played 16:39 Average Time On Ice and had a line of 1 Goal, 4 Assists for 5 Points, -13 for $5.5 million for the season
- 2012-2013 season: In 4 games, Komisarek played 15:21 Average Time On Ice and had a line of 0 Points, +2 for $3.5 million for the shortened season
Now, there are Leaf fans who defend this guy to this day; who wish him luck with his next team. (Will he honestly be signed by anyone?)
But how can we? The best thing that can be said for him was that, when he was a $6 million 6th Defenseman, at least he managed to get into 75 games that season.
This contract was an absolute disaster and emblematic of everything I thought wrong about Burke’s approach to “rebuilding.” You cannot rebuild on contracts like this. The proof is in the pudding: Komisarek is gone four years after he was signed, and the Leafs have yet to win a play-off series.