Helsinki-based club HIFK in Finland’s top league have signed former New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov to a two-year contract, according to a team release. In doing so, Komarov returns to play professionally in the country he’s represented internationally for the first time since 2009.
Born in Estonia, the 36-year-old Komarov has maintained Finnish citizenship and nationality since his family moved there in his youth. He hasn’t played in the NHL since he mutually terminated his contract with the Islanders in November 2021.
A 2006 sixth-round pick of the Maple Leafs, Komarov has gone on to have quite a successful career despite playing less than 500 NHL games. The versatile forward is well-decorated internationally, winning gold medals with Finland at the World Championship and the Winter Olympics and capturing the KHL’s Gagarin Cup.
It was extremely unlikely Komarov would ever return to the NHL after departing for Europe this late into his career, but this essentially confirms he’s played his last game in North America. If that’s the case, he finishes his NHL career with 63 goals, 107 assists and 170 points in 491 games across nine seasons with the Islanders and Leafs.
Komarov spent last season in the Swedish Hockey League with Luleå HF. There, he recorded nine goals, nine assists and 18 points in 49 games as his squad lost to Växjö Lakers HC in the league’s quarterfinals.