The Toronto Maple Leafs appear to have been too focused on pending free agent and New York Islanders captain John Tavares, that it seems they have forgotten to keep an eye on their own free agents. Recent reports have hinted that both James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak's phones were blowing up with offers from rival teams, however, another unrestricted free agent has been courted elsewhere and is reportedly about to sign with the New York Rangers.
According to The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta, the Rangers have been in talks with forward Leo Komarov on a multi-year deal. If everything keeps heading into this direction, it appears that an official agreement will be reached on Sunday, once the free agency period begins.
At the end of May, TSN analyst and NHL insider Darren Dreger had reported that Komarov’s agent Todd Diamond was hopeful that he and Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas could begin negotiations on a new deal for Komarov in short order.
Komarov’s four year, $11.8 million deal expires on July 1st, but given his lack of production from this past season, he’ll be hard pressed to earn a pay raise on the $2.95 million he’s earned each of the past four seasons. Despite nearly hitting 20 goals the past two seasons, Komarov managed just seven goals and 19 points in 2017-18 and dressed for just two of the Leafs’ seven playoff games. It seemed doubtful that Dubas would offer him a deal, and now it appears the Rangers are taking advantage of their lack of talks with the veteran forward.
As the Rangers enter a rebuilding phase in their process, a veteran presence who can play on the fourth line like Komarov could really benefit the young players and prospects on the roster. For a couple seasons now, the Blue Shirts have struggled to find an offensive enforcer that can challenge rival players on the ice. Maybe this is where the Rangers' interest in Komarov stems from...
So far, Komarov has put up 52 goals and 70 assists in 327 career NHL games. There were rumblings that Komarov could head to the Kontinental Hockey League if the Leafs or any other team did not reach out to him this summer. However, the Rangers might make him an offer he cannot refuse.