What a year it’s been for Nazem Kadri; The missed practice; the “reading between the lines” of Brendan Shanahan’s statement afterwards; the presumably long-term commitment the Leafs were at one point willing to make turning into a one-year contract extension.
But then Mike Babcock came along. And Lou Lamoriello. And the remaking of Nazem Kadri. Despite Kadri’s shooting percentage struggles and not putting up the points he is capable of, management has made sure Kadri’s tires have been pumped every time they’ve had a chance to do so.
The only thing about those pumped tires? Management did the same thing with Dion Phaneuf – and we know how that turned out. And with Kadri in his prime, management have to ask themselves – is this a guy that is part of the future? He’ll be 27, 28, 29 when this team is a contender. That question is important because if you move him now, you’d likely be getting some good value because of that tire pumping we talked about earlier.
Let’s look at what they could get for Naz if they decide to move him.
You have to give props to Bob Murray for staying the course with a Ducks team that was underperforming for awhile. They’re on fire now, but could still use some scoring help. Anaheim has $7 million in cap space, but are a budget team. They’re a great fit for the Leafs because of the insane amount of attractive assets they have – young d-men, great prospects, picks, and are also willing to move Frederik Andersen. They’re who I’d target if I was looking to move Kadri or JVR.
Potential Trade Pieces: Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen, Josh Manson, Simon Despres, Brandon Montour, Nick Ritchie, Frederik Andersen, 2016 1st
Potential Salary Dumps: Kevin Bieksa, Patrick Maroon, Ryan Kesler, Clayton Stoner
The recent report about the disagreement between ownership and Canucks GM Jim Benning makes a lot of sense – this is a team that needs to tear it down and rebuild, but refuses to. All the moves Benning has made in the last year fit with this theory – acquiring mid-aged players that can help now but still have some potential (other than Brandon Sutter, who is bad). Kadri fits the bill perfectly. He’s still young enough to fit into a future core, but can contribute effectively now, especially slotting in behind Henrik Sedin. The Canucks are a team that I can see the Leafs wanting to take advantage of in trade talks, since Benning has publicly stated his desire to make moves to get the Canucks into the playoffs – the weirdest power move I have ever seen.
Potential Trade Pieces: Jordan Subban, Thatcher Demko, Jacob Markstrom, Hunter Shinkaruk, Brendan Gaunce, Brock Boeser, Cole Cassels, 2016 1st (lottery protected I’d assume)
Potential Salary Dumps: Derek Dorsett, Luca Sbisa
Mike Yeo might have taken the fall, but this Wild team – despite all the big contracts and brand name players – just can’t score. A lot of it is bad luck, but they could also use some new blood. You know who can score? Nazem Kadri. Minnesota is battling to get back into the playoffs, and need scoring – a perfect combination to take advantage of.
Potential Trade Pieces: Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Nino Niederreiter, Jason Zucker, Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumb,a Kirill Kaprizov, Alex Tuch, Joel Eriksson Ek, Tyler Graovac, 2016 1st
Potential Salary Dumps: A lot of big contracts that I can’t see Minnesota considering “salary dumps” because of optics.
The surprising Hurricanes look like a team that could be both buyers and sellers at the deadline. While they’re right in the playoff race, it’s all built on good coaching and a young core that is still growing. With that, they are likely to move pending UFAs Eric Staal and Cam Ward – even Jeff Skinner’s name is out there. They’re definitely one of the most fascinating teams to watch leading up to the deadline. Kadri could fit into their plans perfectly – he’d complement their young core, without being a huge departure from the plan that’s in place.
Potential Trade Pieces: Jeff Skinner, Haydn Fleury, Sebastian Aho, Roland McKeown, Alex Nedeljkovic, Sergey Tolchinsky, 2016 LA 1st, 2016 CAR 1st
Potential Salary Dumps: James Wisniewski
Now this would be fun. Imagine, a couple weeks after moving their captain to their provincial rivals, the Leafs then move Kadri there as well. It’s not crazy – we know the Senators covet Kadri, and they are looking to add a forward to their group that can fit in long-term. These teams reportedly discussed a Kadri for Zibanejad deal a year or two ago, and Ottawa wanted Kadri in the 2009 draft. They settled for Jared Cowen (who hilariously and poetically, is now a Leaf).
Potential Trade Pieces: Mika Zibanejad, Colin White, Matt Puempel, Thomas Chabot, Mikael Wikstrand, Nick Paul, 2016 1st
Potential Salary Dumps: Dion Phaneuf.