Leafs Re-sign Nazem Kadri to One-Year Contract

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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports

The Dream is back!

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed restricted free agent Nazem Kadri to a new one-year contract. According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, the 24-year old centre will make $4.1M next season, which works out to be a cool million dollar raise over last year.

Kadri finished fourth in scoring for the Leafs this past season, with 18 goals and 39 points in 73 games.

While many were expecting a longer, more expensive contract for Kadri, this deal makes a lot of sense for both sides. 

On one hand, Kadri doesn’t lose his RFA status for a full two seasons beyond this new contract, so Toronto hypothetically sign him to what would be a third ‘bridge contract’. For Kadri though, it’s an opportunity to prove himself to a new coach, in a new system, with a presumably larger role in the offence going forward. If all goes well, Kadri could cash in on a longterm contract next offseason.

With so many roster changes, it wouldn’t be surprising if Kadri finally becomes Toronto’s full time #1 centre this year. Kadri is clearly the team’s most skilled centre (and has been for a while now), and incumbent top liner Tyler Bozak no longer has Phil Kessel around to protect him. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Bozak’s points totals take a significant hit, and Kadri excel in his place.

With Kadri’s signing, the Leafs have pretty much finalized their forward group for next season. Newcomers P.A. Parenteau and Mark Arcobello will hopefully help an offense that recently lost an elite goal scorer, and a returning Daniel Winnik will help flesh out a bottom six. Still, the 2015-16 Toronto Maple Leafs look like they’ll have a tough time putting pucks in the net.

  • Brooksterman

    Leafs have $15M in salary, with 15F, 7D, 1G, still have to sign Berneir and Marcinin, not to mention some AHL players who will get called up, wonder if Leafs try to trade Bozak for a bad contract + pick(s)

  • SEER

    I don’t like this signing by Dubas. I’d lock Kadri in like JVR was by the flyers or taveres by the NYI for a long term value contract. I’d even get Kadri to sign a Bozak type of contract but longer term.

    This won’t hurt in the short term but in the long term this will lead to trouble as the accumulated mistakes begin to manifest them in a difficult cap sistuaiton.

      • Gary Empey

        Think of JVR or Taveres. There is low to no chance the leafs are signing Kadri to a value contract like those two going down this path.

        They just pushed the contract issue further out – more like Subban situation but not for that cap obviously.

        Kadri is a fine player (superior to bozak) so there is as much risk (i’d say less) to signing kadri to a similar contract as Bozak. This situation will ensure Kadri gets a bigger pay day in the future which will put the leafs cap at a disadvantage (and who already are paying kessel for 7 more years).

        cap management 101

        • Brooksterman

          Problem is you don’t invest long term in a player who is as inconsistent as Kadri has been thus far in his career offensively and a player who has serious off ice issues. What would have happened if they sign him long term this summer and then he doesn’t fix his off ice issues next year? The Leafs will have had enough as his team suspension and public calling out by Shanahan this year was clearly his last straw. They won’t be able to get rid of him as no one will want a player with his problems and is locked up long term. He still has too many question marks to be able to commit long term.

        • First off, both of those contracts were signed coming off entry level deals as like, 21-year olds. You’re getting high value, on star players, during their RFA years

          Second, it takes two parties to agree on a contract. Why would Kadri sign a 4-year, $4M deal now? You’d need to pay a lot more to buy up those UFA years. There’s no way the Kadri camp would accept a deal you’re suggesting… low cash and no control.

    • Gary Empey

      This signing gets the leafs above the cap floor. For sure the cap is and will continue to seriously affect the make-up of all NHL teams.

      We just seen the effect of Kessel’s long term contract.

      No one seems impressed with the long term contract the Sabres just signed.

      In a nutshell the problem with those long term contracts (which used to be the way to go) is the player becomes difficult to move.

      Other teams will be saying ” yes I would like to have him but where can I find the money”.

  • Gary Empey

    THIRTY THOUGHTS

    1. Anaheim Ducks- Love water. Will head south when they see ice.

    2. Arizona Coyotes- Hopeless, Homeless, Useless and Feckless. Look it up.

    3. Boston Bruins- Cheapest most vindictive management in NHL

    4. Buffalo Sabres- Great fans, deserve a team but unfortunately….

    5. Calgary Flames- Alberta Bound and not going any further.

    6. Carolina Hurricanes- Ever see the movie Deliverence

    7. Chicago Blackhawks- Bunch of old guys. Luckiest team in the NHL.

    8. Colorado Avalanche- an avalanche, a mass of crap moving rapidly downhill.

    9. Columbus Blue Jackets- Need straight jackets if they are thinking Stanley Cup.

    10. Dallas Stars- Twinkle Twinkle Dallas Stars. Is it lonely where you are?

    11. Detroit Red Wings- Slow decline is over. Now into rapid decent.

    12. Edmonton Oilers- McDavid’s agent promised to get him out as soon as he can.

    13. Florida Panthers- Mad dogs and hockey players out in the midday sun.

    14. Los Angeles Kings- Bunch of Queens for a Day, if you ask me.

    15 Minnesota Wild- Great place for hockey players to retire. Good fishing.

    16. Montreal Canadiens- Hate ’em. Don’t get me started.

    17. Nashville Predators- Famous for the “Tennessee Waltz”

    18. New Jersey Devils- Yes, this team on the Highway to Hell.

    19. New York Islanders- Team that started from nothing and brings it with them.

    20. New York Rangers- New York New York, Start spreading the bovine scatology.

    21. Philadelphia Flyers- City of Brotherly Love. I call it incest.

    22. Pittsburgh Penguins- Aways looking for new ways to lose.

    23. Ottawa Senators- When we get rid of the senate take these guys with you.

    24. San Jose Sharks- I like shark fin soup.

    25. St Louis Blues- Always Mired in Mississppi Mud.

    26. Tampa Bay Lightning- When they had their chance, lost to a bunch of old guys.

    27. Toronto Maple Leafs- And on the eigth day He created the Leafs.

    28 Vancouver Canucks- Someone called them Canuckle Heads. I like that one.

    29. Washington Capitals- With a couple of minor tweaks, should be on the golf course sooner.

    30. Winnipeg Jets- Too much Borscht and not enough Perogies.

  • Benjamin

    I’d rather the Leafs take some calculated risks by adding term and buying UFA years with their young, NHL-calibre players.

    That said, this makes sense for both sides. The Leafs retain flexibility and Kadri stays hungry with a chance to prove himself under Babcock.

  • Benjamin

    Not sure why people are saying that he should get a longer term deal. He hasn’t really proven much, yes the talent is there, but if we are banking on Kadri as our long-term #1, then we are in big trouble. I think he is a solid #2 on a playoff team. Also, if we resist signing him long-term it only increases his trade value at the deadline this year or heading into the next years draft.

  • jasken

    Nice signing for both parties it works out well. If Kadris numbers continue to decline easy to be moved. If Kadri numbers improve more bargain and more money with longer term.

  • Gary Empey

    As Don Cherry said after Kadri’s suspension.

    “The kid is not going to be here in two years, he’d be nuts,” Cherry said on Coach’s Corner, per the National Post. “To be humiliated in front of his family and everything. He’s been called everything since he came here.”

    Cherry also said:

    “You know how I like this guy,” Cherry said. “How he could do what he did; hit the goaltender, he could have been suspended twice … Smarten up, Kadri. Nazem, you know what I think of you, but you played stupid. They could use you right now.”

  • STAN

    This is a throwback to the good old days when the majority of NHL players were oon one or two season contracts, except not much was guaranteed.

    Shanahan & co. are signing almost everyone to short term deals and the players seem happy to come aboard – Mathias, Panik and Winnik are perfect additions because they work hard and will fit the Babcock mold.

    I’ve been saying this for a couple of years – Kadri can be THE leader of this team. He’s now the most naturally gifted player on the team and has the fire and ambition to have his best season ever.

    So the “there will be pain” comment might not be quite as fatalistic as it sounded.

    In fact, I think Babcock deliberately set the bar low so that every win or good performance seems like a bonbus.