Rangers should address toughness by signing UFA, Leo Komarov
The Rangers lack physical players. That doesn’t mean they don’t have guys with size, it just means they don’t have guys that are willing to get in your face. This issue only got worse with the retirement of Kevin Klein, the demotion of Brendan Smith, and the trade of J.T. Miller.
Need Some Sandpaper
A look at the current roster shows an lineup filled with younger, fast, skilled players. It’s already too one dimensional, but that could change this summer by signing bottom six forward, Leo Komarov.
The 5’11”, 210lbs winger is mean and aggressive. He is an in your face player and makes his presence known almost every shift. On a team filled with young players, Komarov could be just the type of player that makes the opposition focus on him than going after the Chytils and Anderssons on the Blueshirts.
Leo loves to agitate, hit, and mix it up. He would be perfect on a 3rd or 4th line role with this rebuilding squad. He’s simply put the type of player you hate until he wears your favorite team’s sweater.
Age and Money
The immediate reaction from the new age hockey fan that worships corsi is that he’s too slow. Honestly, he isn’t that slow and when you are a shark cruising the ocean for a meal, you aren’t exactly flying at full speed…until you want to strike. Regardless, Komarov can chip in the occasional offense and his speed looked fine to me on these tallies.
If you want a drawback on Komarov, I think it’s obvious what they are – age and money. He is 31 years old and is coming off a contract with a cap hit of $2.950M. The Rangers can ill afford to give him a 3 or 4 year deal, which is what he would like. Nor should they be paying him much more than he is making now.
Toronto will be cash strapped this summer and have plenty of players they need to re-sign. 6 UFA’s and 2 RFA’s, one of which is William Nylander plus they need to get under the cap. If the Rangers want to jump on Komarov early, it will likely need to be a 3 year deal at 3.5M per.
However, the Rangers could play it slow and hope that most teams stay focused on all the big fish out there causing Leo’s demands to drop. If the Rangers get lucky they may be able to get him on a one or two year deal at a bargain price.
No matter what, the Rangers have a toughness issue and there is an answer in the form of Komarov in the UFA pool party this summer.