Carolina was tied for 28th in the NHL with 160 goals allowed last season. A large part of that was because of the injuries to goaltender Cam Ward and blueliner Joni Pitkanen, but the Hurricanes still felt it was important to retool their defense this summer.
The only problem was that they were already close to the salary cap, so the Hurricanes did their work on a budget. They got 31-year-old Mike Komisarek to agree to a one-year, $700,000 contract after he was bought out by the Toronto Maple Leafs and they parted with 25-year-old defenseman Jamie McBain along with a second-round pick to get Andrej Sekera, 27, from the Buffalo Sabres.
McBain’s playing time dropped noticeably last season and Sekera can be trusted with top-four minutes. Komisarek is a bit more of an X-factor, but he’s an intriguing one.
When the Maple Leafs originally signed Komisarek to a five-year, $22.5 million deal, he was a highly regarded defensive defenseman, but he quickly fell out of favor in Toronto.
In retrospect, Komisarek believes that he was trying to do too much after signing his first big contract. He also felt that the intense media scrutiny in Toronto might have adversely impacted the situation.
With that in mind, he thinking playing for Carolina will be like a “breath of fresh air.”
It also doesn’t hurt that Hurricanes bench boss Kirk Muller previously worked with Komisarek when he was an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens.
If he can bounce back after his rough tenure with Toronto and Sekera can perform as advertised, then it will go a long way towards the Hurricanes getting back into the playoffs.