When talking about the KHL player Leo Komarov, you have many different things you can describe him as: fan favorite, agitator, hitter or secondary scorer. Knowing that he was raised in Finland you understand Komarov is like Jarkko Ruutu or Sean Bergenheim. He is the type of guy you hate to play against.
Komarov, who was born in Estonia but is a duel citizen of Russia and Finland, is one of the Russian league’s brightest young stars. He racked up 26 points (including 14 goals) while registering 70 penalty minutes over 52 games in the 2010-11 KHL regular season, and also played in the Kontinental Hockey League’s All-Star Game. In the playoffs, which ended, well, earlier than expected for Dynamo, Komarov posted a remarkable four goals in just six games.
I have seen Komarov’s game live at one of Dynamo’s home matches, where he played on a line with former NHL star Miroslav Satan and Russian national team player Konstantin Gorovikov. He is fast, he hits players significantly bigger than him and he goes to the net hard. The 24 year-old is listed as center, but can play on the wing as well.
What do the Capitals and Dynamo have in common? Alex Ovechkin, who serves as an advisor to the Moscow club.
Dynamo’s general director said that Komarov has an offer from the NHL:
As far as I know, Komarov and [Roman] Derlyuk want to try to play in the NHL. If something won’t be good there, we’re waiting for them to come back. I want to mark out Komarov, he became much better this season. Figuratively, Leo was a student and became an overachiever taking responsibility and becoming a leader while just a year ago he was a third [or] fourth-liner.
Komarov’s National Hockey League rights are currently by the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was drafted by the Leafs when there was not a transfer agreement between the NHL and Finnish SM-Liiga, where he played at the time. But I think that if Toronto has no interest in signing him, they should trade his rights to someone who does. If that is indeed the case, then the Caps might be a good fit. Why, you ask?
- If Caps are going to use Marcus Johansson as the second-line center next year, Komarov could possibly fill the role of a quality third-line center.
- Does Washington need an agitator? They have not had such a player since Matt Cooke *cringe*, and after playing in playoff series against the Rangers (Sean Avery), Penguins (Cooke) and Canadiens (Maxim Lapierre), I really wouldn’t mind Caps getting guy who would annoy their opponents just like those guys annoyed the hometown boys. Komarov was named the “most hated player” by the members of SM-Liiga three times.
- Komarov is born for the smaller, NHL-sized rinks. He likes to hit and searches for every opportunity, which is much easier to find on North American ice sheets compared to European ones.
This is how a power forward is supposed to score (@ 2:50):
What do you think? Should Washington “kick the tires” and explore signing Kamarov?
Additional reporting by Ian Oland.