The Clock Is Ticking On Mike Komisarek and Tim Connolly
Since joining the Maple Leafs in November of 2008 Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has received his fair share of praise and criticism for the various trades and free agent acquisitions.
When you consider all of the trades Burke has made his overall work would earn him a passing grade in the minds of many. Where Burke has struggled is the free agent market where (amongst others) he has acquired two brutal contracts in Tim Connolly and Mike Komisarek.
While there is still time for Connolly to make amends for last season, the ship has clearly sailed on Komisarek who, barring some kind of miracle, will probably see more time in the press box than he will on the ice next season.
In Connolly (31), Burke was hoping he had found a player that could play between Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. Instead he got a player that looked disinterested at times, which ultimately led to his demotion to the third line.
With Connolly carrying a cap hit of 4.75 million next season and Komisarek coming in at $4.5 million for the next two seasons it is easy for fans to be angry over the signings. Those two salaries alone will account for nearly just over $9 million next season, which is far too much for two players that amounted to dead weight on more nights than not last season.
Ask yourself this—which player or players could Burke have signed this off-season if he had passed on Komisarek and Connolly?
Of course, at the time of the Komisarek signing he was regarded as one of the best hitters in the game. Sadly, the only thing Komisarek has been hitting in Toronto is the local burger joints, as witnessed by his poor fitness and ever slowing skating.
The “good people” of Buffalo warned us about Connolly’s lack of passion and while they have been wrong about many things (including any of their pro sports teams winning a championship) they were right about Connolly.
With Toronto desperate for an offensive centre and a physical player on the backend both Connolly and Komisarek were given more than their fair share of opportunities to earn heavy minutes. Both failed miserably, which in the minds of many has both players on the clock for the upcoming season.
Both Komisarek and Connolly have modified no-trade clauses. The no-trade clauses and huge salaries they will earn next season make them all but untradable.
While Burke had good intentions when he signed both players, he must spend lots of nights wide awake thinking about what could have been in place of the nightmare that is having to pay Komisarek and Connolly and the lack of performance he has seen from both players.
While nobody has a crystal ball, these two signings have hurt the Maple Leafs in the past and will continue to do so in 2012-13. The good news is Connolly is set to become unrestricted free agent after this season, while Komisarek’s contract runs through 2013-14.
When it comes to talking about expectations for the 2012-13 season few fans expect much from Komisarek, fewer still believe Connolly will bounce back.
If Burke knows what is good for him he will allow both players to walk as soon as their contracts expire or maybe chose to buyout Komisarek’s remaining two years. Burke could use the money to sign some new players or use their salaries to off-set any additional salaries coming to Toronto via trade.
What are your expectations for Komisarek and Connolly this season? And, on another note, what can we expect from Matthew Lombardi (who will carry a cap hit of $3.5 million) next season?
Until next time,