Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs Free Agent Options: How Much Is Leo Komarov Worth?


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):

Player
Position
Age
Contract AAV
Contract Length
Career GP
Career 5v5 Pts/60
Ryan GarbuttC28$1.8-millionThree years1311.752
Brandon BolligLW27$1.25-millionThree years1250.704
John MitchellC29$1.8-millionThree years3441.372
Michael Raffl LW25$1.1-millionTwo years681.706
Trevor LewisC27$1.525-millionTwo years2760.857
Leo KomarovC27TBDTBD421.092

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.

Tags: Dave Nonis Featured Leo Komarov Peter Holland Randy Carlyle Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Stan Smith

    I agree that the Leafs should give Komarov a serious look. I think that his energy and style of play would be something Carlyle would love to have back on the team. The departing Gordon alluded to that fact on explaining the differences between last season’s Leafs and this one. He played mostly third line minutes last season with the buds and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up doing that again. The only problem I see is with Clarkson. They both play the same side so Clarkson would have to stick with the second line. I do expect Clarkson to have a bit of a bounce back year this year though. Moneywise I agree with the $1.7 but they may have to overpay a bit and stretch it to $2 mill. I would be okay with that.

    • Tim Bayer

      There’s definitely a lot to like about his game. I can’t remember what position he played in 12-13, but he played left wing at the Worlds and like I commented above, he has plenty of experience at centre as well. I see him as a guy you can plug all over the lineup.

      • Stan Smith

        I didn’t watch him play in the worlds and he always seemed to be introducing left dmen to the boards in the offensive zone so I am guessing he was used primarily as a right winger by the leafs. if he can be used on right or left wing a third line of Komarov, Bolland and Clarkson might be able to create some havoc in the offensive zone and not be a at a disadvantage in their own as well. If Bolland doesn’t re-sign Holland could step in there too but I like the idea of Bolland better.

  • Bill

    He was fifth in hitting in the league, first on the leafs. Other teams said the leafs were hard to play against with him on the team last year but this year no one thought that. He is fast, hits hard and can score and make plays when needed. I remember watching shifts of his where he would check two or three guys, the guy is a tank. I wouldn’t give him Clarkson money, but I think he can bring more to the leafs than Clarkson can. He’s played all positions up front in the khl and international so I wouldn’t worry too much about where he fits in. He is a player that can get the team more engaged like lucic does in Boston and draws more penalties than he takes.
    If it came down to it I would buy out Clarkson in a heartbeat and sign Bolland and komarov to reasonable contracts.

    • Tim Bayer

      That’s a good point about his versatility. He was actually drafted as a centre and was still a 51 per cent guy even though he only took 57 FOs in 12-13. I had a good laugh when I saw him getting under the skin of the Canadian players at the Worlds.