The Carolina Hurricanes set out on a mission this summer to upgrade their blue line, and they took a step towards improving it on the first day of free agency, snatching up recently bought out defenseman Mike Komisarek. Despite the way things ended in his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, this could be a very good signing for the Canes.
The deal for Komisarek is for one year and carries a $700,000 cap hit. He’s coming off of a contract with the Leafs that paid him over $4 million a year, in terms of AAV, which led to his buyout in the final year. Health and performance woes kept him from living up to the expectations that came with that five-year deal that he was just bought out of.
If he can stay healthy, than $700k for Komisarek could end up being a bargain for the veteran d-man. It’s the staying healthy that has proven to be the problem for Komisarek in his time in the league. He appeared in 75 games for the Leafs back in 2010-11, but that was sandwiched in between seasons of 34 and 45 games. He played in just four for Toronto in 2013.
If he can shake off those health and performance woes that he experienced in Toronto, he’s exactly the type of force on the blue line that the Hurricanes were looking for. He’s a big, physical defenseman, standing 6’4″ and nearly 250, of the stay-at-home variety. He’s the defensive defenseman that the Hurricanes had coveted, and they got him at a very good price.
As a change-of-scenery candidate, Komisarek has a chance to bounce back. He goes to a much smaller market, where the expectations for him will be nowhere near what they were with a big contract in Toronto. That alone makes the odds of him rebounding more favorable. If he can do so, he can set himself up for a multi-year deal next summer.
While this move doesn’t improve the Hurricanes defensive corps to where it wants to be on its own, it’s a step in the right direction. Of course, that’s assuming that Komisarek can rebound, both in terms of his health and his performance. With such a low-risk move, it’s hard not to love this one for the Canes.