The New York Islanders have reportedly signed free agent forward Leo Komarov to a three year, $12 million contract.
Leo Komarov to the NYI, four years, AAV of $3M. Yearly breakdown is $4M, $3.5M, $2.5M and $2M.
The 31 year old Komarov joins the Islanders after five seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The pugilist affectionately known as “Uncle Leo” scored seven goals and 19 points in 74 games with the leafs last season, a speed decline from his career high of 14 goals and 36 points just two seasons ago. It remains to be seen whether or not Komarov can get back to that level of productiion, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be afforded more offensive opportunities with the Islanders than he had the past season with the Leafs.
Of course, the Komarov move doesn’t even begin to replace the hole left by the departure of captain John Tavares, who elected to leave the Islanders and join the Maple Leafs at the opening of free agency this afternoon. In case you missed it, Tavares signed a historic seven year, $77 million deal with the Leafs, turning down offers of $91 million and $90 million from the San Jose Sharks and New York Islanders.
The Leafs also waved goodbye to UFA forwards James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak today, but the Tavares signing should no doubt help soften the blow for Leafs fans. Van Riemsdyk signed a monster contract with the Philadelphia Flyers that pays him an annual average salary of $7 million per season, while Bozak inked a three year, $15 million deal with the St. Louis Blues. Regardless, with Tavares, Matthews and Nazem Kadri down the middle now, the Leafs now boast perhaps the very best center ice position in the entire NHL.
It remains to be seen how Komarov factors into things for the Islanders this upcoming season, but it's likely that he slots in alongside center Brock Nelson on the team's third line. While it's not Tavares... it's a start. The Islanders must now move forward with life after Tavares, but thankfully with Matthew Barzal rounding into a legitimate NHL superstar, the rebuild on Long Island may not take as long as you may think.