In the midst of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, perhaps it's a little early to discuss the possibility of the Toronto Maple Leafs splurging in this year's Unrestricted Free Agent crop by acquiring Mike Komisarek. But hey, four consecutive years of missing the post-season will do that, and speculation is always fun, so let's discuss!
Komisarek has been a serviceable defensive defenseman for the Montreal Canadiens, no doubt about it. Ever since he completed his first full season with the Canadiens back in the 2005-06 campaign, (first season over 70+ games) Habs fans have been privy to the defensive abilities #8 brings to the ice. While he lacks offensive skills, and his potential in the department is limited, he made it to the NHL because of his defensive play. Komisarek excels specifically in hits and defensive zone coverage. In fact, at the end of the 2007-08 campaign, he led all defensemen with 227 blocked shots, and finished second in hits with 266.
This season, however, many Canadiens fans have criticized the 27 year-old of poor play in his own end, and have questioned whether or not he is worth a contract extension. Living in a household of Canadiens fans, I can say I've seen my fair share of Habs hockey. I've always been a fan of Komisarek's game, and have regarded him as a top defensive defenseman in the NHL during the past few years. Like all defensive defensemen, though, Komisarek is underappreciated and gets little notice around the league (besides Pierre Maguire, that is). However, Komisarek did have a disappointing season, no question. He still led the Canadiens in hits with 191, (ranked 25th overall) but it’s a serious downgrade from his 266 last season. In the blocked shots category, he finished with 207 (ranked 4th overall). He was also ranked 7th overall in giveaways with 89, which is obviously considering for a player of his type. That is 29 more giveaways than he had in 2007-08. It's also worth mentioning that the Canadiens struggled this season, and few players (even Carey Price) struggled to find success, so this could easily be a bump in the road.
All that said, it must be mentioned that he is still young, and defensemen generally take more time to develop. Komisarek's upcoming seasons will be huge in terms of his development as a defensive defenseman in the NHL. He has the potential to be one of the meanest and toughest defensemen, (as mentioned, see stats of 07-08 season) but some hard work is definitely in order. If you ask me, patience would go a long way for Komisarek. He often finds himself in trouble by making rash decisions when under pressure from the opposition. If he could attain a little more poise, it would propel his defensive game to new levels.
Pertaining to the Leafs' off-season plan, I think it would benefit them immensely to sign a player like Komisarek. He's young, and he's got potential; should fit right into Brian Burke's regime. His price tag may be a little high, but considering he struggled this season, it shouldn't be anything near baffling. If he does work out, he'd be a serviceable defenseman once the rebuilding phase is complete. That, and I'm giddy like a school girl thinking about a Luke Schenn - Komisarek pairing on the PK unit.
What do you think?