The new Toronto Marlies forward has selected sweater No. 87 — a bold move given that Sidney Crosby was the only player in either the AHL or NHL to wear it last season. An agitator on the ice, Komarov is bound to hear about his number from opponents.
"I don't really care," he said Thursday after the Marlies opened training camp. "It's my choice and it's my number. I wouldn't take 99, but it doesn't really matter if you've got 87 or 10 or something like that. It's like whatever, dude."
In Komarov's defence, he also wore No. 87 the past three seasons while playing for Dynamo Moscow in the KHL.
Unlike Crosby, who chose the number as a nod to his birthdate (8/7/87), Komarov doesn't have any superstitious reasons for sporting it. In fact, he was hoping to start his career in North America with something different.
"I tried to get No. 71, but (Jerry) D'Amigo got it," he said.
The Maple Leafs organization has waited a long time to get Komarov in uniform. A sixth-round draft pick by the organization in 2006, the 25-year-old already has seven years of pro hockey under his belt — four in Finland and the last three in Russia, where he helped Dynamo Moscow win the Gagarin Cup last season.
Born in Estonia to Russian parents, he was raised largely in a Finnish village and has long dreamed of playing in the NHL.
With the NHL lockout currently putting that dream on hold, Komarov is trying to make the best of the situation. He's on a two-way, entry-level contract and would be far from a lock to crack the Leafs lineup even if the NHL season was starting as planned.
"I want to play in the NHL, but now I have to go through this," said Komarov. "When I signed the contract, I knew about this — that they could send me down (to the AHL) or there's going to be a lockout. ...
"I'm going to try my best and we'll see how far it will go."