Friedman: Expect Leafs to trade “everything not bolted down”, which might include Nazem Kadri

The Toronto Maple Leafs are doing a heck of a job shedding names that they don’t see in their long-term plans this month; be it the long-term contract of Dion Phaneuf, or the short-term mercenaries like Shawn Matthias, Roman Polak, and Nick Spaling. But what if they started looking at even bigger moves?

Enter Elliotte Friedman, who came in with an interesting nugget this afternoon.

The great thing about AMA sessions on Reddit, to me, is that they feel just a little bit more relaxed than traditional media or even competing social platforms like Twitter or Facebook. We certainly had a lot of fun when we did ours, but hey, Friedman is one of the biggest in the business. It’s great to see him open up a bit, but nothing was more interesting to Leafs fans than this bombshell in response to a St. Louis Blues Fan. 

Spoke to Doug Armstrong this morning.” said the Sportsnet Insider, under the super-sleuthy pseudonym of /u/Elliotte_Friedman. “He won’t hide Steen on the injury list until playoffs like CHI did with Patrick Kane. He said when Steen is ready to play, he will play…same with Steve Ott. So, he’s tight to the cap…I’d be very curious to see Kadri in a STL uniform.”

It’s hard to pinpoint how shocking a move to St. Louis would be for Kadri. On one hand, the 25-year-old centre has been arguably the Leafs’ best player this year, and had both driven play and produced at even strength despite awful puck luck and a limited supporting cast; you would think he’d be a shoe-in to stick around for at least a little while longer.

With that said, the Leafs have several directions that they could go down the middle. William Nylander is making a mockery of the American Hockey League, and Mitch Marner has proven capable of playing at either centre or the wing. Big names such as Steven Stamkos (free agency) and Auston Matthews (draft) are far from guarantees, but certainly not out of the realm of possibility. If the Leafs were able to stock up on even more mid-to-high tier prospects and draft picks than they already have, it would certainly increase their odds at having young, skilled talent in the later stages of their rebuild plan. 

Friedman addressed Kadri’s long-term place in the organization as well. “The tough thing about Kadri is TOR’s really talked him up this season. They really talked up Phaneuf, too, and moved him. So, we’re not sure what it all means. Lou Lamoriello once told me, “if you have time, use it.” They have time with Kadri. If he gets dealt, it’s because they get something they really want.”

A best case scenario in terms of acquisitions would likely see Kadri go back to being limited in his ice time; not due to his own faults, but due to internal and external assets overtaking him. If confidence in that scenario is high, now would likely be the right time to move him. Besides, if the Blues are legitimately interested, their up-tempo style of play seems like a great fit for him.

Outside of this bit of speculation, Friedman did have a couple of other minor tidbits, such as a comment on PA Parenteau’s willingness to come back if traded, and that the team could trade, well, just about anyone.

  • BarelyComments

    Without the guaranty of either Matthews or Stamkos, Kadri seems like as close to an untouchable as we have. Unless someone grossly overpays for him, I can’t see how we could afford to let him go without more depth at centre. The one exception I would put is that it may be worth it if we get the chance to pick up a young top 2 defence in return, but otherwise I would say you probably have to wait until the summer and see how the draft/free agency plays out.

  • CMpuck

    I thought the most fascinating comment in this article was the statement that leaf management had played Kadri up all season as they did Phaneuf. So that being the case I wouldn’t be surprised to see the leafs move Kadri. In reality in a couple of years with youngsters coming in he is a third line center which he would be with the top flight teams that might pursue him. That being the case you would likely get a late first round pick for him.

    Heh I get he has really worked his tail off this year and has been solid both ways. But to suggest he is just unlucky when it has to come to scoring is a bit too much. I tend to agree with others that his shot would’t break a window.

    I still wonder if a coach like Babcock and Lou are enamored over his lack of discipline which has been better this year till he tried to imitate the W.W.E. Undertaker with his throat slash gesture.

    I also think the old honchos of M.L.S.E. would be frustrated that a number 7 lst round pick is gone for a late first round pick. Perhaps they also get another draft pick besides a first. It all depends on just how desperate some of the cup contenders truly get.

    I also find it fascinating that some posters are upset that we wouldn’t have much down the middle next year if Kadri is gone. Well leaf management is truly following the building of Rome blue print, namely it ain’t happening in 2 years. So get use to a poor team again next year which hopefully will once again get us a top three pick. Patience people, after all as my moniker states what’s a few more years when it has been 49 years already.

    • Gary Empey

      Re- ” to suggest he is just unlucky when it has to come to scoring is a bit too much.”

      I think Babcock has asked him to shoot the puck more. Not so much to score but the have the wingers knock in a rebound. I think Kadri is also a good passer and I have missed that part of his game this year.

    • magesticRAGE

      I hear you in that luck can only take you so far, but when you consider what Kadri has to work with, is it really that surprising? Is anyone asking for Kadri to face the leagues best lines, with Grabner and Komarov (love him though), and put up 70 points? When Kadri steps on the ice, Doughty, Keith, Weber, Suban, and Karlson step on as well, to cover him. There’s a reason that Komarov is the leader in goals, Imagine if Kadri had a sniper to work with, like Lupul a couple years ago.

      I’m a Kadri fan, but a realistic one. He has greater value to the Leaf’s as an elite 2nd center in the long term. He’d have a better staying with the Leaf’s than the risk involved with drafting his replacement.

  • Benjamin

    Gary Empey I think you are right about Babcock asking him to play differently.I’d also like to see Mike experiment a little although I know it won’t happen.What I was thinking is move Gardiner up to wing with Kardi and either JVR or Komarov to see if he can open up more ice for the other two.Not on a seady basis just a shift or two now and then.
    I can remember the days of Imlach when he wanted to change the flow of a game now and then he would put five defence men out together and it worked well.They did a lot of hitting and hammering and changed the flow quick.

    • Gary Empey

      Yes I remember Imlach starting 5 defencemen. It was usually done to intimidate the opposing team. Imlach did move all star defenceman Red Kelly to center and it was a very successful move. Since Bobby Orr changed the role of NHL defense, the modern day thinking is to generate offense from the back end. Still sometimes one wonders if some defencemen would be better off playing forward. The last we seen of it here was Wendel Clark and Gary Leeman moving from junior defencemen of the year to wingers.

      Also there still are a couple of guys that play both positions. That guy on the Jets comes to mind.

  • Kanuunankuula

    A) His value is not as high as it could be. No way you get fair falue for him.
    B) I’m not that willing to throw Nylander to 1st lines next year.

    Also LOL at people saying he is only worth a 1st. You must be really believing what Simmons etc. is saying.

    Edit. Also 1st and a second is underpaying for him.

  • CMpuck

    So we trade Kadri and what we’re the worst team in the league or we keep Kadri and we’re the worst team in the league… sell high on Kadri while we can, it’s a rebuild no reason to fall in love with filler.

  • CMpuck

    Imo he should be traded. I sense the coach is obstructing/retarding his potential. Some players like people need free movement. He would perhaps be better suited in a more laid back atmosphere. If the coach is a control freak/micro manager this will not bode well for more talented players.

    I still recall what a disaster turnout it was for Jiri Crha and the Leafs when the Leafs tried to change his style after his strong rookie performances. Especially the 60 plus shot heroics against the North Stars 🙂