When the Leafs got rid of Beauchemin, I was ecstatic. Aside from the players that were obtained in the transaction, I felt that the Leafs were able to rid themselves of a player that seemed content with mediocre play and ultimately did not fit into the team's long term plans. With the length of his contract being relatively short, and combined with his former playoff success, the Leafs were able to parlay a mistake from the horrible 2009 off-season, into some pieces moving forward.
However the prospects of moving the other big (we thought at the time big, now just brutal) addition to this team Mike Komisarek, will unfortunately never happen. He was signed that off-season to a 5 year/22.5 million dollar deal. Since signing the deal, the physical defenceman that was an All-Star and former fan favorite in Montreal has completely faded. The Leafs have instead received a defenceman that still has has no offensive game, but now also seems to be completely inept in his own zone. While his cap hit of 4.5 million is probably at least 2 million dollars too high, it is not nearly as crippling as some make it out to be. To put things in perspective, Vincent Lecavalier has an 11yr/85 million dollar deal, that expires when he is the ripe old age of 40. That contract may not allow the Lightning to sign both Hedman and Stamkos, now that is crippling. (I sure hope Yzerman will be able to produce more magic and figure something out.)
Komisraek the entire year, has had a penchant for poor defensive decisions and bad penalties. Probably none were worse than his cross check Thursday night against the Flyers' Dan Carcillo. He got a five minute major, a number many Leafs fans consider a small price to pay for removing him from the game, and immediately put the Leafs down on the scoreboard, early in the first period. The coach, had no sympathy for his player after the game, saying that the right call was made, and limited his ice time the next game to a little over nine minutes.
This clip highlights his poor decision making. Even had this pass been made properly, I think everyone knows that throwing a puck in front of your own net on the PK, even to a teammate is always a poor decision.
The worst aspect of the Komisarek contract is his limited no-trade clause which allows him to submit a list of 12 teams to be traded to, as well as his no movement clause. The no-trade clause is absolutely meaningless, because, there is not a single team out there in the NHL that has interest in him at that cap number. The infintely larger issue is the no-movement clause. This does not allow the Leafs to waive him, (and then put him on re-entry waivers, where he may get claimed for half the price) or even send him to the minors. This leaves them essentially with two choices, continue to play him, or to buy him out.
If the Leafs were to buy him out, which would only happen if the Teacher's Pension did actually sell their shares, it would not bode well for future free agent expenditures, and attempting to lure them to the city. On the other hand, with a player like Gardiner ready to make the jump to the NHL as early as next year, the ice time for Komisarek may be even less available. With three seasons left on his deal, this may be the Leafs only option, unless his play and that of his partner Lebda's as well can significantly improve.
What you think the Leafs should do? Would love to hear your feedback!
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