In early August, we covered rumors that veteran NHL forward Leo Komarov would be spending the 2022-23 season in the SHL. While it turns out that Brynas won’t end up being the club that features Komarov next season, Komarov has ended up in the SHL after all. Per a team announcement, Lulea HF has signed Komarov to a one-year contract.
Komarov, 35, is a veteran of nearly 500 NHL games. He played for two teams in his NHL career, the New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs, and has scored 170 points in his 491 career NHL games. Komarov’s most recent run was with the Islanders, where he played as a low-scoring bottom-sixer on a squad that went to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals.
The best years of Komarov’s career came with the Toronto Maple Leafs, highlighted by a 2015-16 season where he scored 19 goals and 36 points and represented the Maple Leafs at the 2016 All-Star Game. A sixth-round pick in 2006, Komarov’s NHL career came after a long stretch of development in the KHL.
Komarov made his KHL return last season, skating in 18 regular-season contests and 16 playoff contests for SKA St. Petersburg, scoring a combined nine points. Komarov helped Finland win gold at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and joins a Lulea team that fell just short of winning the SHL championship last season.
While a return to the NHL for Komarov is likely out of the picture, it’s definitely possible that he spends the remainder of his playing days as a quality forward in European leagues while also featuring in international tournaments.