Toronto Maple Leafs: Catching Up on Mike Komisarek


Mike Komisarek spent four seasons between the infirmary and the press box as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs

We’ve had a lot of success with this series in the past so let’s try it again, taking a look at Mike Komisarek this time.

Komisarek was one Brian Burke’s first major free agent signings as general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. It would also prove one of his most controversial signings, which says a lot.

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The Leafs were able to secure Komisarek’s services with a five-year deal worth $22.5 million. He joined the team in the summer of 2009, having spent his first six seasons in the NHL as a member of the rival Montreal Canadiens.

In Montreal, Komisarek established himself as a steady and tough presence on the blue line. He recorded 58 points (12 goals, 46 assists) and 496 penalty minutes while posting a plus-13 rating in 361 career games for les Habs. It’s not clear if these numbers warranted the type of contract Burke handed him, but it seems pretty safe to say his performance in Toronto never justified it.

Dec 29, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Mike Komisarek (5) warms up before playing against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

He was limited to 34 games in his first season with the Leafs, falling victim to the injury bug. This is a theme that would haunt Komisarek throughout his time in Toronto. He never played a full season for the Blue & White and made only four appearances in his last season with the club (2012-2013).

Across four seasons and 158 games with the Leafs, Komisarek amassed a record of 19 points (two goals, 17 assists), 169 penalty minutes, a minus-28 rating and countless injuries. He quickly became a constant subject of trade rumours and the Leafs were pressed by fans to buy out his contract basically from the outset. In other words, it was never pretty for Komisarek in Toronto.

Things got really weird for Komisarek in 2012-2013 when a freak eye injury essentially signaled the end of his career with the Leafs. He would play in one more game for the team before being demoted to the Toronto Marlies in the AHL where he quietly disappeared.

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  • Toronto bought out Komisarek’s contract in the summer of 2013 and that’s essentially where his story ends. The Carolina Hurricanes took a chance on Komisarek just days after the Leafs cut him loose, but he didn’t make it past 32 games with his new club. It was another disappointing and short-lived tenure for Komisarek.

    When the Leafs originally signed Komisarek, they had bigger and better things in mind. Skating alongside Dion Phaneuf, he was supposed to represent the team’s tough new approach on defence. Instead, he became one of the many hallmarks symbolizing the false grandeur and excessive hyperbole of the Burke era.

    It’s a shame they didn’t “buy out” Burke’s contract earlier.

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