For the second time this year, the Maple Leafs have dispatched a highly paid NHL veteran to the minors.
On Thursday, defenseman Mike Komisarek joined Tim Connolly as the newest member of the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. Komisarek went through waivers unclaimed and, having waived his no-movement clause yesterday, will now try to get his career back on track in the American League.
Connolly, in the final year of a deal that pays $4.75 million annually, has been with the Marlies since January. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports Komisarek is expected to be in the Marlies lineup on Saturday when they take on Chicago.
The hope now is that Komisarek can play enough — and play well enough — to revive interest in his services.
The 31-year-old rearguard has only appeared in four games this season, and just 45 the year prior, thanks to injuries and ineffective play.
One thing standing in Komisarek’s way? His contract.
His five-year, $22.5 million deal doesn’t expire until 2014, meaning any team interested in acquiring him would have to swallow his $4.5 million cap hit (and $3.5 million salary for this year and 2013-14.)
That’s a lot of money to take on, especially with the salary cap ceiling dropping to $64.3 million next season.
Get set for the Heritage Classic with hot dog facts and more
The Winnipeg Jets host the Edmonton Oilers at the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field this afternoon. You can watch it on NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVA Sports 2 or NHL.tv at 3 p.m. ET.
With that in mind, let’s get prepped with super-important stats about unhealthy food, interesting photos and fun facts.
Want to get an in-depth look at the rivalry between the Jets and the Oilers? NHL.com and Sportsnet both have some great retrospectives.
The CBC notes that there was rain ending in the morning but it’s expected to be cloudy. Overall, sounds like a nice climate for an outdoor hockey game. NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika wonders if the sun’s glare might cause some issues.
The Arizona Coyotes received (mostly) good news on Sunday: Mike Smith‘s injury isn’t believed to be “severe,” even if he’s considered week-to-week, according to reporters including TSN’s Darren Dreger.
While Louis Domingue and Justin Peters isn’t the sort of goalie duo that will make shooters think twice about firing the puck, they’re both at least fairly experienced netminders.
(Considering Smith’s struggles with injuries and inconsistency, it’s not surprising that Arizona invested in a little insurance in Peters.)
Domingue is slated to start in net for the Coyotes against the New York Rangers on Sunday. It’s been a bumpy start for him so far, but Arizona has at least a theoretical advantage in that the Rangers played on Saturday.
As far as when Smith will be back? Well here’s a slight idea.
Dave Tippett does not think Mike Smith will be ready for home game vs. Colorado on Oct. 29, but he is not far from getting back on the ice.
Chances are, plenty of hockey fans – and maybe some members of the Colorado Avalanche – were uttering that question after Saturday night.
Well, we know this about Shane Harper: he scored his first two NHL goals at age 27, helping the Florida Panthers beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2.
You can watch both of Harper’s goals in the recap video:
Harper also drew enough ire from the Avalanche to get into a bit of a skirmish following a hit.
So, who is Shane Harper?
For one thing, he’s from Valencia, California and did not go drafted.
His best junior season came in 2009-10, when he scored 42 goals and 80 points for the Everett Silvertips. He’s become quite the seasoned AHL veteran since then, and while his numbers won’t wow you, he did do enough in 2014-15 to maybe turn a head or two. Harper scored 32 goals and 50 points for the Chicago Wolves that season.
You can tell his teammates were happy for him – gentle ribbing and all – when the media asked about his career milestone: