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Kadri fires back?

Via Sportsnet, the Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby spoke to Toronto Maple Leafs restricted free agent Nazem Kadri about the state of his contract negotiations with the Leafs, and Kadri was apparently none too pleased with the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons' suggestions that Kadri's demands are unreasonable:

“I know I’m being pretty reasonable, taking all that cap into consideration, when really, that’s not my job to do,” Kadri said Tuesday after 15 Leafs had a pre-camp workout. "Obviously the closer it gets to camp, it’s becoming more and more of a distraction. But as I said, I’m being more than reasonable and it’s their decision to make.”

The Leafs would no doubt like to see their former first-rounder ink a bridge contract such as Montreal defenceman P.K. Subban, for $2 million to $3 million to set up that multi-year jackpot if he keeps flourishing. Yet the 22-year-old, the second highest Leaf scorer last season and Toronto’s likely No. 2 centre in 2013-14, believes he’s already making a strong case for future investment.

“That’s all I can control — how I play. Maybe not that many people expected it out of me (last year’s 44 points), but I knew I was capable of that and even more. I did my work during these past three years, doing exactly what they told me, trying to be the player they want me to be. I think I’m well on my way.”

He did have strong numbers comparable to some higher-paid players, with less ice time. Yet the Leafs can’t be called unreasonable for wanting him to prove he can keep a high standard through a full 82-game schedule.

“I have 100 games in this league, I don’t think that’s a little,” Kadri responded. “I understand you have to put 82 games together, but I’m becoming more and more mature and every year it’s becoming easier and easier. I don’t see a problem with that.”

Continued, and fear not, the Toronto Star's Damien Cox freaked out as is appropriate for a Toronto sports columnist at this time of year:

It seems very unlikely Kadri will be in training camp when it opens next month. If he’s still out when the Leafs open the season in Montreal, and if the Leafs get off to a slow start, the same misguided souls who screamed that he deserved to be a full-time NHLer well before last season will again scream that the Leafs must pay him the $5 million or $6 million per season he wants.

That’s how these things works, particularly in hockey-mad burgs like this one.

But if Habs GM Marc Bergevin could hold the line with [P.K.] Subban, who at that point was a more accomplished NHLer than Kadri is now, then Leafs GM Dave Nonis, blessed with a new contract himself courtesy of MLSE head honcho Tim (You Say Joffrey, I Say Jeffrey) Leiweke, should have no trouble staring down the young centre and his agent.

Just can’t see the Leafs caving on this one, but it will play itself out as these things do.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nazem+kadri, toronto+maple+leafs

Comments

Da lil Guy's avatar

I’m sure Kadri feels like he should get a deal along the lines of what linemate JVR currently enjoys. While Nonis may not have signed that deal, I think it’s probably difficult for him to argue that Kadri should take less than his winger when he appears to be just (if not more) important to the team going forward.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 08/21/13 at 08:51 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I get that the Leafs want to make sure they don’t overpay now that they’ve done so with so many other players that they can’t afford to keep two key pieces going forward, but for a team that just dumped their best center to a buyout who is all but committed to making sure Kadri is at least their #2 pivot-man, the concept that he has to prove he can keep it up for a longer term before he deserves to be paid like a #2 center is a luxury they may not be able to afford either.

The market for offer sheets is dead right now because there are still things that can be done and a 10% cushion over the cap.  I wonder if both Kadri and Franson hold out until the end of September whether there will still be a dead offer sheet market.

After all, having Tavares and Kadri as #1 and #2 centers on Long Island makes that team look like one on the rise.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/21/13 at 10:36 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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