On Monday, I outlined some reasons why it would be a smart move for the Toronto Maple Leafs to sign Leo Komarov. This post will be focused on trying to determine how much a new contract for Komarov should be worth, and whether or not the Leafs can afford him.
Michael Traikos of the National Post wrote the following in a piece published yesterday:
Komarov’s agent, Mark Gandler, is in Toronto this week for the NHL Draft Combine and told the National Post on Monday that Komarov is seeking a multi-year contract. He would not go into specifics regarding salary, but it is clear from talking to him that Komarov wants to be paid somewhere close to the US$2-million he was receiving in Russia.
Komarov was signed to a one-year entry-level contract before the 2012-13 season worth $1.2-million, but actually had a cap hit of only $850,000. Traikos wrote in the piece above that Leafs general manager Dave Nonis had reportedly offered Komarov a contract worth $1.3-million last offseason, but that obviously wasn’t enough for his liking as he bolted to the Kontinental Hockey League’s Moscow Dynamo for that aforementioned $2-million.
Komarov only has that one year of NHL experience under his belt, when he put up nine points in 42 games in that lockout-shortened season while averaging almost 14 minutes of ice time. However, we also have four-plus seasons of KHL data for Komarov to see what kind of offense he might bring to an NHL club if given a greater role.
Komarov has 110 points in 210 career KHL games for an average of 0.53 points per game. Using Bruce Peter’s KHL-to-NHL point equivalencies from 2011, we can roughly estimate one KHL point to be worth 0.65 in the NHL. By this method, we can predict Komarov to score 28 points in an 82-game season, or 0.34 points per game. That would’ve put him seventh among Leafs forwards in scoring last season.
That’s quite a bit higher than the 0.21 points per game Komarov put up in his one season for the Leafs, so my guess is he has some untapped offensive potential that can translate to the NHL. That will depend on what kind of minutes and linemates he’ll get under Randy Carlyle next season, if the Leafs choose to sign him.
Putting his KHL numbers aside, let’s take a look at some recent contracts handed out in the $1-2-million range to forwards in the NHL recently using CapGeek’s Latest Contracts feature, and how Komarov stacks up to these players (career five-on-five points-per-hour numbers retrieved from the individual player pages at stats.hockeyanalysis.com):
Career 5v5 Pts/60
|Ryan Garbutt||C||28||$1.8-million||Three years||131||1.752|
|Brandon Bollig||LW||27||$1.25-million||Three years||125||0.704|
|John Mitchell||C||29||$1.8-million||Three years||344||1.372|
|Michael Raffl||LW||25||$1.1-million||Two years||68||1.706|
|Trevor Lewis||C||27||$1.525-million||Two years||276||0.857|
Komarov’s situation is somewhat unique in that he is a veteran player who has only played 42 games in the NHL. That could cause Nonis to be a little hesitant in offering him a contract, but given his track record in the KHL and in international play with Finland, I think he’s pretty proven as a decent bottom-six hockey player.
I’d be comfortable giving Komarov a contract of about $1.7-million per season for three years. I think that would be a pretty good compromise from the $1.3-million Nonis reportedly offered him last season and the $2-million Komarov received playing in the KHL. If he’s given third-line minutes alongside a pretty good playmaking centre in Peter Holland, I think he could see a nice boost to his scoring totals.