Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A final push for Komisarek, and what are the alternatives?

It appears Bob Gainey is making a final push for Mike Komisarek, but I'm starting to wonder if it's worth the trouble.

First, courtesy of USA Today hockey scribe Kevin Allen on his Twitter feed, comes this posted at about 8 a.m. Tuesday morning:

"Noting that Montreal GM Bob Gainey will talk again today to agent Matt Keator about re-signing D Mike Komisarek"

Then, a few minutes later:

"From my poking about on Komisarek, I have the sense that the Habs believe they will land Sedins if the twins don't re-sign in Vancouver."

Prior to that came this last night from the Twitter feed of Penguins beat writer Rob Rossi:

"I'm hearing from several folks that Mike Komisarek might land with a Pens' Atlantic rival"

I could go on and on like this, but none of it changes my mind as to the unlikelihood that Komisarek is signing in Montreal.

So, I figured we may want to look at some alternatives to Komisarek that will be out there on Wednesday, and you may be surprised to learn there are a lot of them. The primary reason Komisarek is so attractive as a free agent is his age, and being both a physical presence and an elite shot blocker.

But if you decide to go after only one of those two skills, the shot blocking, there are still some capable defensive defencemen that look like they will be hitting the free agent market, and they will be far less expensive than Komisarek.

So here, in order, are who I think Bob Gainey should target to take Komisarek's spot on the Habs blueline, assuming it becomes vacated Wednesday:

1. Greg Zanon, 29, Nashville

I've been high on grabbing this guy for quite some time , but there is really no time like the present to be making a pitch for Zanon. His agent Peter Fish tells Tennessean reporter John Glennon that his client has received no offer from the Preds and will hit the market Wednesday.

Zanon is not a hulking giant like Komisarek, standing only 5-foot-11 but listed at a solid 201 pounds. Still, he finished third in the league in blocked shots with 237, just a shade over Komisarek's total of 207, albeit in 16 fewer games.

What you find looking at the blocked shot leaders is that it's rare to find defencemen who block a lot of shots and are credited with a lot of hits, which is what adds to Komisarek's value. But Zanon wasn't too shabby in the hits department either with 153, which was 24th in the league.

Zanon made only $750,000 last season, and I would imagine an offer doubling that salary would be snatched up in a second.

2. Rob Scuderi, 30, Pittsburgh

Scuderi had a tremendous playoff and will be looking to cash in on that fact, which is why Gainey should probably hold off on him because some GM will likely overpay for his services. But all things being equal, he would be a valuable defenceman to pick up because he is so positionally sound and was able to bring some stability to a defence corps in Pittsburgh that is anything but solid.

Scuderi looks like he will be free to hit the market and will likely be able to triple his $725,000 salary from last season, which is way too much.

3. Karlis Skrastins, 34, Florida

A little on the older side, Skrastins is a reliable stay at home guy who had a plus-nine rating for the Panthers last season while blocking a team-high 171 shots, ninth in the league. He made $2.4 million last season, but if he agreed to a massive pay cut he'd be a good value signing and could teach a thing or two to some of Montreal's younger defenders.

4. Jay McKee, 31, St. Louis

Finally, if desperation really sets in, Gainey could have McKee for a song. He was once the player that I find provides the best comparable for Komisarek's market value. The Blues just bought out the final year of his four-year, $16 million contract because McKee was grossly overpaid, and also because he was rarely healthy.

He played 69 games last season, his highest in three seasons with the Blues, and he's missed significant time to 9injury in all but one of his last six campaigns. If he can survive a whole season of playing the way he does, he'd be a reasonably valuable depth guy. But that's a big if.


Michael said...

I really wonder if a GM can know anything about free agents before they hit the market.

I can only conclude that Bob feels about 100% that he can land the Swedish twins right now. Why else would he tell all of his UFAs that they have to wait till the 1st of July.

Prior to this, I think he may have had a deal in place for both Vinny, and St. Lou. Probably would have been a few roster players, and a bunch of picks/prospects going the other way, such that we would take on a bigger cap hit as well. Again, why else would have have been telling the UFAs to wait till after the draft.

Ted said...

If I had a choice in all this I'd pick up both Zanon and Scuderi and you could land them both for less than the reported 4 mil offered to Komisarek. I liked Mike very much but with the way the Habs treated Koivu they won't be seeing alot of loyalty from the other players. And that will be the only thing they have truly earned in the last several years.

pfhabs said...


signing guys as much as 7 years older, 5" shorter or 40 lbs lighter than Komisarek; how is that anywhere near replacing him...what a joke let's call a spade a spade once again Bob has f'd up...he's waited too long under an ill conceived policy now you have to overpay to retain him...so know what overpay because no 5'11" smurf will strike the fear into anyone....they have a D corps of non-hitting light weights so lets bring in another...that surely will strike fear into an opposing forward...

Komisarek hits, block shots, is a team leader, is fearless and this team has not had a defenseman like that since Chelios whom they traded for another washed up chez nous star who lasted about 2 years and Chelios is still playing

want a plan ? here you go:

1. sign Komisarek
2. try to sign Beauchemin
3. buyout or send to hamilton Hamrlik...getting rid of that $5.5 cap hit, a soft player who doesn't hit nor block shots
4. sign the Sedins
5. say no thank you to old, breaking down, cap unfriendly Vinny and Martin St Louis

Michael said...

I like that plan pf

Ted said...

According to TSN


Oh well, next!!

Arpon Basu said...

You would have to be loony NOT to love PF's plan, but it sounds a lot to me like George Costanza's plan to have Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr. and Danny Tartabull in the same Yankees outfield.