Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 08/21/13 at 12:11 AM ET
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.”
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.
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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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