Top Five Trade Destinations for Leo Komarov

Leo Komarov has turned in an impressive season for the Leafs so far, which included an early-season spot among the league’s leading goal-scorers, and has even gone as far as earning him an All-Star nod. But in the second half of the season things have not gone so easily, and while his goal tally is still impressive, Komarov’s output is now settling back near the pedestrian pace he’s shown in the past.

While Komarov was setting the league on fire at the beginning of the season, many folks argued for trading him while his stock was highest, especially considering he turns thirty next January and the team is still somewhat in blowup mode. We obviously don’t know if that had ever been a consideration earlier this year, or if this make-believe market of GMs falling over themselves to get him was ever a reality. But either way, it’s still something the Leafs should probably explore, and if they do, here are five destinations that could make sense for Leo Komarov.

New York Islanders

The Isles have been fancy stats darlings for the last couple seasons, but now that title is wearing off a little and they’re tumbling down the standings as well. New York now operates as a mid-pack possession team by score-adjusted shot attempts, and while they have a decent amount of talent up front, they could use someone who can help out in this regard. Komarov has been a strong defensive player for the Leafs in his time with them, and ranks third among their forwards in relative score-adjusted Corsi% this season.

As for cap implications, the Isles have a decent amount of space as one of the lower spenders in the league, and if they don’t pony up for Okposo this summer, could manage Komarov and his $2.9-million hit going forward. They also have shorter term options they could send back to Toronto, and a couple once-highly-touted prospects who’ve seen their stock fall a bit this season. While Snow hasn’t been afraid to cut bait with big-name futures before, if you get into those names like Ho-Sang and Dal Colle, that’s obviously going to be part of a bigger trade conversation with more coming from the Leafs.

It’s worth noting Lamoriello and Isles’ general manager Garth Snow locked up on Lou’s first trade for the Leafs back in September, when Grabner was sent to Toronto for a boatload of middling prospects.

Potential trade pieces: F Josh Ho-Sang, F Michael Dal Colle, D Thomas Hickey, Isles’ 2nd round pick (2016)

Potential salary dumps: F Cal Clutterbuck (2.75M until 2017)

Calgary Flames

The Flames are sort of a “win now” team, except they aren’t winning now. With this season now being a wash, they need to figure out a way to build a strong forward group to compliment some great names on the back end. Komarov could be a fit there. Again, as we mentioned, Komarov has shown to be strong defensively, and the Flames certainly are not.

Calgary’s cap situation isn’t ideal but they have some money likely coming off the books this summer in the form of Hudler and Jones, both to the tune of $4-million. They’ll need that coin to help get Monahan and Gaudreau under new RFA deals, but perhaps a move that makes sense here is the Leafs taking on Wideman’s $5.25-million hit for next season to give the Flames some added relief. This might make more sense as a summer deal, and as part of something bigger.

Potential trade pieces: Flames’ 2nd round pick (2016), Flames’ 1st round pick (2017), D Oliver Kylington

Potential salary dumps: D Dennis Wideman (5.25M until 2017), F David Jones (4.0M until this summer), D Deryk Engelland (2.9M until 2017), D Latislav Smid (3.5M until 2017)

Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg is another one of these teams that should be winning now but aren’t.

The Jets have some huge decisions to make on Ladd and Byfuglien, and if one goes, they’ll have to get to work on patching things up. Even if they both stay, that team needs to find a way to boost their lineup and get back to being competitive in the west.

With one of the more wide-open cap situations in the entire league going into this summer, they should be on the short-list for any team looking to make a move.

The Jets have a nice pipeline of prospects, and I’ve included a couple names like Petan and Comrie as potential targets here. But those guys would likely be part of a bigger deal.

Potential trade pieces: F Alex Burmistrov, F Nic Petan, G Eric Comrie, Jets’ 2nd round pick (2016)

Potential salary dumps: G Ondrej Pavelec (3.9M until 2018)

New Jersey Devils

A team with just a ridiculous amount of cap flexibility heading into the summer, the Devils have been a nice surprise in the Eastern Conference standings. They’re going to make a push for the playoffs, but as one of the league’s weaker possession teams, who knows what happens to them down the stretch. Komarov could be a smart addition to help out in that regard immediately, and with all the room they have going forward, he shouldn’t be a problem cap-wise for the next two years.

It seems too easy to just peg Lamoriello’s old team as a potential trading partner, but they do have an interesting situation on their hands and I’d be surprised if the lines of communication haven’t been opened a few times over the season. Remember those Zajac rumours?

Potential trade pieces: F John Quenneville, F Blake Speers, Devils’ 2nd round pick (2016), Sens’ 3rd round pick (2016), Red Wings’ 3rd round pick (2016)

Potential salary dumps: F Travis Zajac (5.75M until 2021)

Anaheim Ducks

Anaheim has the room to load up, and now that they’re in the thick of a playoff spot again, they likely will be looking to add at the deadline. While Komarov won’t be a rental for anyone, his two extra years after this one are manageable for the Ducks, especially as David Perron and Chris Stewart fall off the books to the tune of $5.5-million this summer.

It’s no secret the Leafs link up with Anaheim a lot, or at least they have in the past under the Burke/Nonis management groups. While the faces in the front office have changed for Toronto, Nonis, the guy who signed Komarov to his current deal, now works for the Ducks. So the connection is still there.

As we’ve noted in previous pieces in this series, the Ducks will go forward with John Gibson as their netminder of the future, which might make pending RFA Frederik Andersen available. He could be worth gambling on for the Leafs.

Potential trade pieces: G Frederik Andersen, Ducks’ 2nd round pick (2017), Wild’s 3rd round pick (2016)

Potential salary dumps: F Patrick Maroon (2.0M until 2018), F Nate Thompson (1.6M until 2017)

    • Harte of a Lion

      I think that any team that wants Leo, needs to pony up more than a late 1st. Even if more pieces are exchanged, I think Lamoriello needs to hold out for that teams top prospect, preferrably a potential top 2/4 d-man.

      I know before everyone rips me a new one with the “Komarov is not worth it” or “he is a 3rd liner playing way above his capabilities”

      Any team who is serious about trading for Uncle Leo knows what he brings to their team and for many he might be the final piece up front. He scores, goes to the net, is a wizard with tips, hits like a freight train without taking dumb penalties, and leaves everything on the ice, every shift. Watch him at the end of his shift, he is exhausted yet he doesn’t dog it. Imagine a player putting in an effort to get to the bench… Why you ask? Because a fresh player can’t hop over the boards until he is off! That’s a Babcock type player…

      Name another winger who does all that who can play up and down any line-up, as well as filling in at centre and can win a face-off…, personally I believe we should keep him. His is not irreplaceable, but close…

      I can’t wait to see what names you other posters come up with who is comparable to uncle Leo

      • Jeremy Ian

        No question he brings a great mix. But I doubt the Leafs get more than a late 1st. It’s the main contenders who will be in the business (I don’t see it for Calgary or Winnipeg), so the pick will not be a high one anyway. And the term does mean he’s not a rental and he’s not going to have a year like this one going forward. Much as we like him, I would not drive too hard a bargain or we won’t get any.

      • magesticRAGE

        For a rebuilding team, he’s as close as you can get to being irreplaceable, without actually being irreplaceable. I’m with you in what he means to this team. I don’t think he would bring a 1st, therefore his value would be greater to his current team.
        The way I see it, if they trade Leo, they trade the soul of the team, which is the opposite of what they are trying to accomplish. Uncle Leo stays!!!

  • BarelyComments

    With big Buff signed the Leafs have to be asking if Trouba is available, obviously Komorov couldn’t get that deal done but maybe JVR could? Or Komorov and the Pitsburgh pick. Note: Mirtle tweeted he wouldn’t be surprised to see Trouba moved

    • Harte of a Lion

      I would love to grab Trouba now that The Jets committed to Big Buff.
      I see possibilities without sending Uncle Leo…

      JVR, Gardiner and Reimer for Trouba, Pavelec and Winnipeg’s 1st in 2017 and a b prospect.
      JVR replaces Ladd, he is younger, a better scorer with a comparable cap hit to what Ladd has been making for 2 years after this one. Gardiner has shown real potential this year and though everyone talks about Trouba and his “potential” but he seems to have regressed this year yet will want a huge raise. Pavelec is a contract and a goalie they can be rid of and rumor has it they have been after Reimer for a while.

      This will be seen as a “NO” by fans on both sides but it addresses needs that both clubs have. Winnipeg gets good parts that can plug right into their lineup and have an immediate and positive impact. The Leafs defence gets younger, better plus the addition of a decent 1st round pick. Pavelec can fight with Bernier for the starters job.
      **the 1st is not lottery protected**

      • Gary Empey

        Re- **the 1st is not lottery protected**

        Do you really think anyone is giving up a chance for a top three lottery pick this year or next?

        This trade deadline is starting to remind me of ” The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults “

        • Harte of a Lion

          Gary if you looked at what I suggested sending to Winnipeg… JVR = Trouba
          Gardiner AND Reimer for a 1st plus they dump a crappy contract and a Crappy goalie…

          It could be a lottery pick in 2017 but I believe with Reimer and
          Connor Hellebuyck in net, the Jets should be back in the playoffs next year however… if they f#@k it up, they deserve to send us a lottery pick. When it comes to Winnipeg, roll the dice!

          I don’t think a 1st and a prospect is an exorbitant price to acquire a first line left winger, a top four d-man (who’s advanced stats are great bit still suffers from occasional brain cramps) and a starting goalie who is a Manitoba boy.

          They should have two 1st round picks this year as I would expect Ladd will bring back a late 1st or a 2nd and top prospect in this years draft.

      • Kanuunankuula

        Why would you let go of Gardiner so easily? That’d be a absolute robbery on Jets part? JVR+pick/b-prospect for Trouba or hang up the phone. We’re getting the more expensive contract so no need for salary dumps.

        That 1st could be anything, even a Jake Gardiner!

  • magesticRAGE

    Pretty minor point, but when looking at the Isle’s you mentioned Cal Clutterbuck as a salary dump.

    No chance.

    Now you and I can agree that he’s overpaid, that’s not the point.

    I watch a lot of Isle’s games, listen to a lot of NHL Radio type analysis, that sort of thing. The running consensus around the league is that the Isle’s fourth line is the best in the league, and Cal is a major part of that.

    I’m not saying that’s true (or not). It doesn’t matter. Perception of Cal by those in positions of power tells me he isn’t going anywhere, and that he isn’t considered overpaid.

  • SEER

    I doubt that Leo is going anywhere.., with the term and price of his contract, compared to other Vets on the team that get much more money, for less production…

    You have to keep a few vets on every team, or you end up with a situation like Edmonton had.. Leos’ cheap, his contract is in our favor for trading him “next season”… and he’s putting up points..

    51 Games… 17 Goals… 16 Assists… 33 Points… +4

    ..#1 on the Leafs in points… Give me a break, about getting rid of him.., when we have little scoring, as it is.. and it will take at least a half season, for any newbies next season, to start gelling..

    The Grinder: Leo Komarov’s First Ten Goals & Hits – TML 2015-16


  • Aki Berg

    This Leo situation is like raising a service dog. We all know that one day we’re going to have to let him go somewhere that needs him, but I swear I’m willing to go blind in order to keep him

  • Aki Berg

    HELL NO TO ZAJAC and the ducks option is disappointing. i’d target the jets or the flames since they have good pieces and the flames have dumb management. the ducks overvalue grit so maybe aim higher than what’s listed there. worse trades have happened for desperate teams.