’09-10 Player Reviews: Mike Komisarek


    We’ve partnered up with Pension Plan Puppets to bring to you a Player Review series, where we will be evaluating and grading the 2009-10 season for every Leaf who featured in a significant number of games for the Blue and White last season, with an eye towards 2010-11. Next up we feature Mike Komisarek, profiled by Alec Brownscombe.

    The Summary: Mike Komisarek entered the 2009-10 season on a new five year, 22.5 million contract (4.5 per) with hopes that the change of scenery to different albeit analogous surroundings would help restore his ’07-08 form after a setback of a  ’08-09 season. In a year of injury  and acrimony (including charges of a lack of focus), Komisarek would sit among league leaders in giveaways and seemed to reach a breaking point in his embarrassing bouts with Milan Lucic in the playoffs. While Komisarek overcomplicated his defensive game and was often caught out of position as a result, the silver lining remained Komisarek’s team-leading 191 hits and top five shot block total.

    The hopes were that Komisarek could eat some minutes on a reformed Leafs blueline, add a physical presence, simplify his defensive game and help resuscitate a moribund penalty kill. These hopes are now delayed a season as ’09-10 became mostly a write-off due to a season-ending shoulder injury that limited the New York native to a 34-game campaign.

    The Good

    Komisarek averaged 205 hits over a full 82-game season if you extrapolate his 85 hits in the 34 games he played, which would be good enough to put him top ten league-wide. So there’s little doubt Komisarek brought the physical edge that was expected of him when he was healthy.

    Komisarek also maintained a decent shot blocking total of 5 BkS/60.

    High hit and shot block totals (historically top ten league wide) are the two assets Komisarek can always be counted on to bring to the table.

    The Bad/Ugly

    Granted, an analysis of Komisarek’s Goals Versus Threshold and many other defensive statistics is to be taken with a grain of salt given that the Leafs‘ nearly-winless October represented a major slice of his season, but Komisarek’s -0.7 GVT leaves him last among Leafs blueliners.  Brought in to help the penalty kill, Komisarek’s 16.19 goals against per 60 minutes of 4-on-5 ice time (second worst on the team next to Kaberle) looks pretty terrible, but again this was mainly accomplished during a time of disastrous goaltending and general disrepair across the line-up.

    Komisarek did not kick the giveaway bug that plagued him in ’08-09 when his 89 giveaways in only 66GP left him seventh worst league wide. If you extrapolate his 36 giveaways in 34 GP, he sits at 86 GvA in 82GP. To make a positive out of a strong negative, this is a slight improvement on his last season’s total based on the averages, but this still would’ve left him tied for second worst across the league. If it’s any consolation, he would’ve been tied with Roman Hamrlik, who the Habs pay 5.5 million a season, and just ahead of Jaroslav Spacek, Komisarek’s supposed replacement.

    There is a some cause for concern about Komisarek’s ability to stay healthy after in early January he injured the same shoulder that caused him to miss 16 games the season prior. With the right shoulder now surgically repaired, hopefully this is now an ailment of the past.

    Komisarek seemed mostly guilty of trying to do too much when things didn’t go the Leafs‘ way early. In ’10-11 he will have to get back to playing within his capabilities.

    Audience Participation

    Now it’s your turn. In the comments, rate Komisarek on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season.

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    Alec Brownscombe is the founder and editor of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He's published five magazines on the team entitled "The Maple Leafs Annual" with distribution in Chapters and newsstands across the country. He also co-hosts "The Battle of the Atlantic," a weekly show on TSN1200 that covers the Leafs and the NHL in-depth. Alec is a graduate of Trent University and Algonquin College with his diploma in Journalism. In 2014, he was awarded Canada's Best Hockey Blogger honours by Molson Canadian. You can contact him at alec.brownscombe@mapleleafshotstove.com.