After doing absolutely nothing on the first day of free agency – which is alright by me – Nonis signed ex-Leaf Leo Komarov to a 4 year, $11.8 mil deal. To which I say, I liked Komarov, but why exactly is he getting nearly $3 million per season?
Let’s remember Komarov’s one and only NHL season:
4G, 5A for 9P, -1, playing 13:56 minutes per game, in 42 games (in a 48 game season)
Huh. What does that project to over 82 games? 17 points? Really, you don’t say?
Well clearly overpaying 4th liner pests – who can move up to the third line, don’t forget! – solves all our problems, such as the terrible coach, the GM who doesn’t seem to understand what to value in hockey players, and a team that can’t stop giving up shots.
Komarov has been useful and significantly better than expected in the interim. His 82-game average after these four seasons with the Leafs:
13G, 17A for 30P, -2
Now, a lot of that has to do with his ice-time drastically increasing, as he was not played as a fourth liner for substantial chunks of the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, in addition to at times in the other two seasons.
So I was very clearly wrong about Nonis’ gamble here, as Komarov has consistently performed above the results of that first partial season ever since.
However, it’s worth noting that now that the Leafs are good, he barely played in the most recent playoff. And so the question for history becomes,
- did Nonis sign him because he thought he could be an effective bridging player while the Leafs continue to develop their young players? OR
- did Nonis sign him because he thought Komarov would be an important part of a playoff team?
Remember this is all pre-Matthews. Though the Leafs missed the playoffs in 2014, it’s hard to believe Nonis didn’t think they were going to be back, based upon the Polak trade prior to this deal, and this deal.