Komisarek answers defensive need
Posted July 5, 2013
Day one of NHL free agency yielded what Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford wanted, a big bruising defensemen with experience for a low price.
Mike Komisarek will wear a Hurricanes sweater next year after agreeing to a one year deal worth $700,000. The 6’4” defenseman was bought out by the Toronto Maple Leafs this off-season, mainly due to a contract that paid him $4.5 million per season and higher expectations.
'I didn't get to pick and choose where I wanted to go but in the back of your mind leading up to this date, you look at teams you look at spots you look at markets where you think that would be the best fit for you and Carolina definitely seemed to be that place for me," said Komisarek. "I played under [Kirk Muller] in Montreal, the organization, the market just seemed like the best fit for me. It was a no brainer for me. Get a new opportunity to contribute and play, be part of a team that's up and coming and a great organization."
Komisarek was waived last season after appearing in four games with the Maple Leafs with no takers on his deal that had a year left. He accepted an assignment to play for Toronto’s AHL affiliate after clearing waivers.
The 31 year old fits the outline of what the Carolina front office wanted to address with the blue line, a physical presence.
You didn’t have to be an NHL expert to see the Hurricanes defense needed to get stronger in front of the net, and when on top of his game that is what Komiserak brings to the ice. He made a name for himself being a physical presence with Montreal, where he played for a coaching staff that had Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller behind the bench.
He doesn’t add offense from the blue line, with only 14 goals and 63 assists in 519 NHL games, but that was not what Rutherford was looking for this off-season.
Komisarek was oft-injured in Toronto and scrutinized even more, his durability and play often called into question north of the border. When a player signs a big contract in Toronto they are expected to be Hall of Fame caliber players, and that is from the media.
Signing with Carolina could give him the chance to go out and play; something that doesn’t happen in Montreal or Toronto.
"To go down to Carolina where I don't think there's that same sort of pressure and expectations, you're not under the microscope everyday, is going to do wonders for me. I'm just looking forward to the opportunity. At the end of the day you look for a change of scenery and a chance an opportunity. This deal wasn't about the contract or money, this is a place I wanted to go. I wanted a chance and I wanted to contribute," said Komisarek.
This deal is akin to when the Hurricanes signed Alexander Semin to a one year contract. The organization takes the chance that the player can answer the questions that plagued them in previous stops without having to answer them every day in the spot light. For the organization it is a low risk (low price), high reward situation.
If Komisarek plays well the team has the player they wanted, if not, it comes at a minimal cost.
Rutherford repeatedly said he wanted to improve the defense this off-season. With the signing of Komisarek and the acquisition of Andrej Sekera it appears that he has done that without having to break the bank. Both players are under contract next year for a cap hit of $3.45 million.