The Maple Leafs better have a pretty good penalty killing unit next season.
They’re going to need one with the tough, take-no-prisoners kind of players GM Brian Burke picked up yesterday in defenceman Mike Komisarek, defenceman Garnet Exelby and enforcer-winger Colton Orr.
Combined, they’ve played 963 games, accumulated only 22 goals and have 1,556 penalty minutes to their credit.
Indeed, on a day when offensive stars like Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Marian Hossa and Mike Cammalleri were making big-money deals, the Leafs opted to go after players who exude pugnacity — exactly the type Burke talked about when he started his reign with the club.
“It was apparent from the time Brian Burke took the job, he wanted the Leafs to be tougher,” said assistant GM Dave Nonis. “We wanted players who would not just fight, but play hard. We think we accomplished that.”
The Leafs also got younger, with the players acquired yesterday in their mid-20s while they parted ways with 32-year-old Pavel Kubina.
“They’ll be with this team for the long haul,” said Nonis. “We know we need time to make our team into a contender. We wanted guys who could be here when we become contenders.”
There is more to come. The Leafs are listening to all proposals for defenceman Tomas Kaberle, hoping to flip him for a scoring forward they failed to land yesterday.
Burke was in Sweden, foiled in his attempts at talking to the Sedins, who re-signed with Vancouver moments before they could have opted for unrestricted free agency. It won’t be a wasted trip, since he’ll get to make another pitch to free agent goalie Jonas Gustavsson.
Komisarek, 27, is the jewel stolen out from under the Montreal Canadiens. Komisarek, an alternate captain with the Habs, signed a five-year deal at $4.5 million US per season, adding size and toughness on the Leaf blue-line that includes Luke Schenn.
• Donald Brashear, F, Washington, signed with N.Y. Rangers, terms not disclosed.
• Mike Cammalleri, F, Calgary, signed with Montreal, five years, $30 million.
• Scott Clemmensen, G, New Jersey, signed with Florida, three years, $3.6 million.
• Erik Cole, F, Carolina-Edmonton, signed with Carolina, two years, $5.8 million.
• Hal Gill, D, Pittsburgh, signed with Montreal, two years, $4.5 million.
• Marian Hossa, F, Detroit, signed with Chicago, 12 years, $62.4 million.
• Nikolai Khabibulin, G, Chicago, signed with Edmonton, four years, $15 million.
• Mike Knuble, F, Philadelphia, signed with Washington, two years, $5.6 million.
• Tomas Kopecky, F, Detroit, signed with Chicago, two years, $2.4 million.
• Scott Niedermayer, D, re-signed with Anaheim, one year, $6 million.
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