Komisarek clears waivers, ‘excited’ to join AHL Toronto

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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.

“Mike is excited and looking for the opportunity to play games and compete,” said his agent, Matt Keator, in a statement. “The Leafs handled the situation very well and we’ll see where things go.”

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.