WWYDW: Would you Trade Leo Komarov?

After having a clear offensive leader for much of the 2000’s, the Leafs find themselves for the first time without an elite offensive individual talent for the first time in years.

Often seen as a grinder or a power forward in his first two years with the team, Leo Komarov has seen himself (surprisingly?) be the team’s joint leading scorer heading into the Christmas break, with 12 goals and 12 assists so far.

As Komarov is currently on year two of a four-year, $2.95 million per year contract, talks have been heating up recently that maybe- just maybe- trading Komarov might actually be what’s best for this Leafs future.

There are many differing opinions, but they all boil down to about four main arguments:

  • Option 1: Trade him, but only if you feel like you’re overselling and clearly win the trade
  • Option 2: Trade him for the best deal you can get, his value you will never be higher
  • Option 3: Don’t trade him, he’ll be of value to the team in the future
  • Option 4: Don’t trade him, his worth is more than just his on-ice performance

As I’m not an insider, I’m not going to pretend to make up plausible trade proposals from Komarov, It’s hard to gauge exactly what his market value is, and what would then be considered overpaying for the newly-crowned star.

However, let’s do a quick walkthrough of the options before letting you delve into your commentary below.

Option 1: 

This is the dream for any GM, right? However, it’s obviously easier said than done. Finding both a) a suitable trading partner and b) one who’s willing to part with an asset that could be deemed as a key to success in the future seems like a tall older.  

Option 2:

This is perhaps the most sensible option, but not the ideal one. Komarov’s trade value is likely to never be higher- he’s turning 29 in a month, and has enough term left on a contract to contribute at a relatively fair wage without being kept down long term. In two years, the Leafs won’t be a legitimate threat in the league- barring a major surprise- and by the time they do get to that stage, well, there’s a reason you don’t see many Cup-winning teams carrying around aging vets who aren’t still at the top of their game. However, this option hurts. Frankly, Komarov’s fun to watch- fun to cheer for- and just fun to have around. Trading Komarov wouldn’t be ideal- but if trading him now can help contribute to results in a season where the team is more competitive, it may be an unfortunate reality.

Option 3:

Perhaps Komarov’s career is destined to be one where he stays in Toronto. Komarov may in fact be a great guy to have, but Toronto has seen its fair share of problems looking to keep players solely for their character and leadership values.

Option 4: 

Similar to Option 3, this is the hardest argument I’ve always found. There are always other role models to be found, and a winning team- truthfully- should have more than one guy to look up to. However, it may be true that the Leafs management team could regret selling Komarov in a trade with no huge upside- after all, he’s been a fan favourite and seemingly universally loved among his teammates. Komarov and Nylander celebrating goals together? Well that’s just the best story I’ve heard of an Estonian-born Finn and a Canadian-born Swede today.

A fifth option would be to wait to see what kind of offers come in and evaluate then whether Leo’s worth keeping or not, but that almost seems too reasonable to make sense. 

What do you think? What would you do about Leo Komarov?

  • Gary Empey

    “As Komarov is currently on year two of a four-year, 52.95 million per year contract, talks have been heating up recently”


    That’s a fun mistake to make haha. 😀

  • Javid

    If you can get something like a first, even if it’s late, you do it. He’s not getting any better. He’s everything a contender would seem to look for, someone’s bound to overpay.

  • Benjamin

    Option 1

    No one’s untouchable on this team, least of all a 29 year old whose value simply will not be higher.

    That said, there’s no doubt in my mind that Komarov would make the transition for the kids easier. He can play anywhere in the lineup, by reputation he’s one of the best teammates around, and I think he’d be a great example. Those qualities aren’t entirely without value, even if they aren’t the most important skills a player can have.

    So while he’s not in the same trade-for-picks default category as a Parenteau or Matthias, I’d still look to move him at the deadline.

  • Komarov is a good player. He’s useful now and will continue to be useful next year as well. Hell, he’ll probably be a useful enough player beyond next year that it wouldn’t be unreasonable to extend him for a couple more seasons.

    So, I guess I’m not very eager to move him. This isn’t a UFA situation where I could lose something for nothing, so I don’t feel any significant pressure to make a deal.

    In this situation, I’d simply set a price for Komarov internally (like I do for all my players), and wait until someone soundly beats it.

    Do I feel that Komarov is worth a 2nd round pick? Great – then I’ll move him for a 1st. Or maybe a 2nd round pick and a half-decent prospect. I’m not picky, and I’ve got all the time in the world to wait for the right offer to come along.

    • silentbob

      I don’t understand setting the price at a 2nd rounder if you need a 1st to move him. Why not just the price at a 1st and wait until you get what you want?

      • TGT23

        No, he said internally. So, like, the Leafs management have to decide what Leo is worth so that they can know what it means to ask for more.

        So, let’s say the Leafs decide Leo is worth a 2nd. So, now they can ask for a 1st. If they only get offered a 2nd, they don’t take it. They don’t move him for fair market value. They only move him if someone is willing to overpay.

        But, you need to decide what you think he is worth so you know what overpaying looks like.

        I think Leo is worth a 2nd. So, I want a 1st or a 2nd and a prospect. That’s what I ask for. I think Bozak is worth a 1st. So, I ask for a 1st and a 3rd or a 1st and a prospect. Etc.

        It starts with deciding what it is the player is worth in a fair trade, then waiting for a team to overpay.

  • SEER

    I think this is a situation where uncle Leo has a higher value to the leafs than any other team. If another team offers option 1 you trade him like you would anyone else on this roster, but I think he sticks around as someone to cheer for during the current dark ages of maple leaf hockey.

  • Gary Empey

    As soon as you trade Komarov you have a big hole in the team. I don’t see anyone in the system yet, who can fill his role.

    I wouldn’t be shopping him around. I would consider all offers that may come in.

    When we traded Kessel, in return we have two players playing in the AHL and a draft pick in hand. That only gives us some future potential that is still not obvious how it will play out.

    • Jeremy Ian

      We also got loads of cap room (not as much as we should have — retaining some salary was painful for so many years), don’t forget. Trading Leo would not save the Leafs much money since he’s relatively cheap.

      The good news is the Leafs are in a win win. Good player if we keep him; get back real value if he goes. That means the Leafs should not feel compelled to do it unless they get the right offer. But I would aim for a first or a lower round pick and a good prospect.

  • TGT23

    Option 1 is probably what is best for the team.

    This is not a team that is going to contend for anything soon. Perhaps not even within the length of his contract. And while Leo is a player whose skillset should age well, and his contract is by no means bad, if you can get some team to overpay for him you have to do it.

    I wouldn’t trade him just to trade him. But, for the right deal, you sort of have to.

  • TGT23

    if offered an amazing deal, grab it. no one is untouchable including 29 year old guy scoring at 23%. love uncle Leo but we’re in a rebuild. think logically. sell while his value his sky high. learn from past management who didn’t capitalize when given the opportunity and sell to a contender.

    • not_SorjeBalming

      I guess you are familiar with Bill Walsh and his theory of letting go of a player 1yr too soon rather than 1yr too late. It worked for him and it seems Coach Hoodie in NE is using the same approach to much success (even though i think they cheat..a lot) with his football empire.

      In this case I keep him for this year unless a deal is just too good to pass up. Wait and see if he comes close next year to repeating his success (he was on a very good pace last year before injuries) and if he is close enough…you can get a pretty good haul for him since it won’t be a 1yr wonder type of scenario.

  • silentbob

    Would I trade him? Yes. If there is a good offer.

    he is locked up for another 2 seasons, he isn’t an issue on the ice or in the locker room so no rush.

    In two years, I’m probaby in a bit more of a rush to move him (he already left the team once, I have no doubt he’d walk again) before he becomes a UFA. But right now he should be on what should be a long list of players the Leafs the making calls about and taking calls about.

  • TGT23

    He’s a bit like found money here… No one would’ve batted an eye if they traded him for a 3rd or a late second in the summer. He’s having a career year which will most likely never be repeated. It’s impossible to say what you would do since no one really knows what a GM would be willing to give up to acquire him. But if it’s anywhere near a late first round or a 2nd and a prospect you like, you have to do it. If you’re gonna do a rebuild, you have to acquire assets and trust in your scouting department.

    But saying that, if all you can get is a third and long shot gambles, then you keep him and be happy you have a quality player to mentor the coming kids..

    So I think that’s the line… 2nd and a prospect or a late first… Not sure you can get that. GM’s are coveting their picks more each year.

  • Jeremy Ian

    stop this sign of mental sickness, which belongs to the biggest loser.
    the player is the team’s mvp, leading scorer, who did likewise back home, is in his prime, and on the 2nd year of a bargain 4 year contract,
    therefore your first thought is to get rid of him?
    talk about a non sequitur.
    you have to go back to vancouver management when they gave away Bobby Schmautz right after he was all star game MVP.
    you and that vcr mngmt are at one end of the IQ spectrum, the current leafs mngmt is at the other end.

    • TGT23

      Look at it the other way. Are the Leafs going to compete in 2015? 2016? 2017?

      If he is in his prime now, does that not mean he will be past his prime by the time the team is looking to compete? If 28-29 is the tail end of his prime, as it is for most players, then at 31-32 in the 2018-19 season he’ll be declining. And that seems to be about the time the Leafs look to compete.

      That would be Year 4 of the Rebuild. And that would also mean many things have had to go 100% right with player scouting, acquisition, and development.

      Seems unlikely. Doable, but unlikely.

      So, where in a rebuild is the smart plan ever to hold on to assets now, in Year 1, who may be at the peak of their value, and who likely won’t be at their best when the team is ready to compete?

      You are thinking short-term. This year. Next year. The team needs to think long-term. Like a smart rebuilding team would. The future. You are at one end of the IQ spectrum, the current Leafs management is at the other.

      Also, Schmautz had 281 pts in 334 games for Boston. Vancouver got 378 points in 584 games from Oddleifson and Walton… So, it isn’t as if Vancouver got nothing for him. Further, Oddleifson was one of their best all-around players as well as a Captain for a time.

  • not_SorjeBalming

    my earlier comment was directed at people like “TG T23”, who refuse to rid themselves of a bad habit, not even as a new years resolution;..
    that being, their idea of a re build being a demolition. they refuse to look the facts in the face, that the Edmonton/Buffalo tanking by trading all over-22 assets, has left a culture of losing that even an entire team of first overalls cannot overcome, but rather succumb to.
    the high IQ Leafs management hired Babcock to avoid such a failed model.

    • TGT23

      No, the bad habit is to hold onto valuable assets too long and have their value diminish when it does nothing to help your teams long-term goals.

      The fact that you take such a short view on long-term team building says more about you than anything.

      Does Leo help the team when they are ready to compete? More importantly, will they be competitive within his contract?

      If the answer is no then all your plan does is waste an opportunity to acquire assets. That’s a terrible use of resources.

      Leafs management is too smart to fall into your small, short-term thinking. They’ll do what is best for the team and future.

    • TGT23

      That was not a rebuild. It was a hastened retooling at best. You don’t trade for Bolland or sign Clarkson in a rebuild. They were attempting to compete.

      You can’t burden the new regime with the failures of the previous.

      This is Year 1 of the rebuild.