Two Days Until Camp Opens…

Two Days Until Camp Opens…

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I’ve become known as a bit of a Kadri sympathizer in comment section debates on the Nazem Kadri contract negotiation. I’ll make this clear: I do not blame Dave Nonis and Claude Loiselle for the essence of what they’re trying to accomplish with the negotiation. Kadri’s situation is far from unique when it comes to high profile RFAs, both past (see below) and present (Stepan, Pietrangelo).

What bothers me is the media offensive against Kadri via various insiders and one in particular. It has been the player who so many fans have been quick to jump on and advise to “shut up.” I think that advice would be more apropos for the team than the player, based on what I’m seeing and hearing. Both of Kadri’s tweets have been on the defensive, and I do not believe Kadri is expecting a long term deal at the figures reported.

Consider these figures instead:

Player
Contract AAV
Contract Length
Age
Production
Games
PPG
Date Signed
Cap Ceiling
Matt Duchene$3.5 million2 years21150 pts2190.68June 23rd, 2012$70.2 million
James Neal$2.875 million2 years2392 pts1550.59Sept. 16th, 2010$59.4 million
Logan Couture$2.875 million2 years2165 pts1040.63August 26th, 2011$70.2 million
Tyler Ennis$2.812 million2 years2183 pts1400.59Sept. 15th, 2012$70.2 million
Nazem Kadri$2.9 million2 years2263 pts990.64Sept. 10th, 2013$64.2 million

Management’s perspective:

Both Couture and Duchene had their contracts extended after their first season of a two-year bridge deal, receiving long term deals worth $6 million AAV. This is the goal Kadri should be aiming for. In the interim, his numbers and sample size stack up closer to Couture and Ennis’ than Duchene’s. His sample size is the smallest of these six players. The team is working with a 9% reduction on the cap, as well.

Kadri’s perspective:

Kadri’s camp probably wants something closer to Duchene’s bridge contract for a few reasons. 1) He may feel his opportunity to build a bigger body of work was delayed due to a coach who didn’t like him and treated him unfairly; 2) He was on a 75-point pace last season and was deprived of a full season by the lockout, which was out of his control; 3) He’s seeing overpayments all around him in Toronto, starting first and foremost with a fellow RFA in goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who has has only started 54 games by the age 25 and received $2.9 million for the next two seasons.

 

With 3) especially, Kadri would have a point. The team went and acquired a player more for desire than need and it has put them in a tight cap situation. It’s hard for management to take the line of “potential is great, but it’s about experience and what you’ve proven” if they just handed $2.9 million to a 25-year-old RFA of 62 games; this despite having Reimer in net and before getting a player (Kadri) signed who contributed in a big way to the team’s first playoff appearance in nine years. If the team wants to talk about the 48-game sample size with Kadri, it should be wary of sample sizes and experience vs. potential when it comes to Bernier, as well. Bernier may have been exposed to an offer sheet, but so is Kadri, and the fact that the team felt it needed to lock down Bernier because they traded assets for him isn’t really Kadri’s concern.

It’s hard to argue a little below $3 million is unreasonable for Kadri if we’re going by recent comparables. It’s also hard to argue Kadri doesn’t have the right to feel a little boned based on the club’s actions earlier in the summer.

Let’s continue to hope this deal gets done before it affects Kadri’s ability to come in and have a strong camp, a scenario that could hurt all parties involved.

Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]
421 comments
Jay_Berg
Jay_Berg

Cleary 3 x $2.75 with a fuckin no-trade....

Hahaha..... Hahahaha.............ha....

darthNihilus
darthNihilus

TSN reporting Kadri wants 3.5x2, Leafs offering 2.85x2- so they are not that far apart and as we believed in will be a bridge. Franson will then sign a one year bridge and remain an RFA next season. 

CallumConnorKnight
CallumConnorKnight

Expect Franson and Kadri to be signed within the week.. Gotta get this taken care of..

Defense might be an issue this year.. IMO same basic group..can't wait to see the battle for the 6th spot back there.. Can't wait!!

Phaneuf/Gunnerson

Franson/Gardiner

Ranger/Fraser/Rielly/Percy???

hoogy
hoogy

Bernier and Kadri have about the same body of work, so Kadri should then also settle for 2.5-2.9M. I for one think that the Bernier acquisition was a really good move and Kadri also needs to prove himself so 2-3 years is the length.

GeorgeCastanza
GeorgeCastanza

leaf fans are funny.  Frattin is a 30 goal scorer having  scored 8. ...and Clarkson is a 20 goal scorer having scored 30.



...and I'm a big Frattin fan and miss him too.

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@CanuckUKinToronto I would say coach and management are going on the assumption moves will be made to allow for a full roster. Roster size will only be decided on when camp is over. I hope Carlyle keeps his word and plays the 23/21 best players but realistically I can see 4 spots that might be up for grabs. 13 th forward is open . On D its a bit different. I see the top 4 of Phaneuf ,Gunnar ,Gardiner and Franson as probable locks . The other 3 spots are wide open IMO

JMaster
JMaster

@darthNihilus I don't know if Franson will want to remain an RFA, he has the skill to break any spot on any team and he knows that. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@CallumConnorKnight Wildly different group in my opinion.  Healthy Gunnarsson.  Ranger over Kostka.  Gardiner over Holzer.  Better depth options. Rielly for 9 games. 

Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

@hoogy 

If it's a bridge contract for Kadri (which it should be)...it won't be longer than 2 years.  My guess is Kadri would opt for a 1 year bridge deal but Loisselle / Nonis will hold steady at 2 years (as they should).

Franson will sign another 1 year deal....then cash in next summer.  Getting a bit concerned about the amount of contracts up next summer to be honest.

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

@GeorgeCastanza I really liked Frattin, didn't want to see him traded and do believe he will be a very good player.....having said that, Burke always said that a good trade benefits both teams and I really hope Bernier will do well in TO and we can look back on this as a good trade  :)

Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

@GeorgeCastanza 

I liked Frattin as well (and I do believe he could score 30 some day if his health holds up).  That being said, I'm more than happy having landed Bernier in return for him...and I also think Clarkson brings some intangibles that Frattin doesn't.

whalz
whalz

we just replaced Fratts 8 goals with a PTO for Mason Raymond 10 goals last yr....i think Raymond would be a solid addition to that 3rd line, skates well with an offensive touch. only 27 yrs old.

The Toronto Maple Leaf
The Toronto Maple Leaf

@GeorgeCastanza Especially since his main chunk of scoring occurred when he was in mid-season form from playing with the Marlies (sadly same with Kadri, but Kadri has a much much higher ceiling). 

Knights2Leafs
Knights2Leafs

@Burtonboy

I agree with your top 4 but I think Ranger is a lock for one of the other 3 spots, Fraser is next in line and then the 7th spot is up for grabs.  Assuming  of course that Liles is gone.

GeorgeCastanza
GeorgeCastanza

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan @GeorgeCastanza   Nothing wrong with speculating with a caveat.  I'm laughing at those making absolute statements that aren't  true or haven't happened yet.  Frattin isn't a 30 goal scorer until he's actually done it no more than kessel is a 40 goal scorer.

GeorgeCastanza
GeorgeCastanza

@whalz Oh I agree, only except I think 


David Clarkson replaces Matt frattin

Bolland replaces grabovski........................and

mason Raymond replaces  Clarke Macarthur


LeafsGuru
LeafsGuru

Frattin is replaceable, if Bernier turns out to be what he is projected to be, we may have the next Rask on this team. I think it was worth a gamble.

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

I think with the forwards we added and a full training camp getting the hang of the Carlyle system, we should see some improvement in our own end.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@CallumConnorKnight @Cameron19 Well, 30 shots is pretty much average. That's not purely a defensive problem though.  That is as much our forwards as anything else.  Some nights you could have put Lidstrom and Pronger back there and had 40 shots against, because you would often have 3-4 confused players on the ice.

mcloki
mcloki

Better forwards and a cycle game will help those numbers.

Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

@Alec Brownscombe @Bon Scott was a Leaf fan @hoogy 

Yup...I know...but he will still cash in next summer after signing this string of bridge contracts.  He will want to be paid (RFA or UFA)....and considering anything over 1 year goes into UFA years...he will cash in.  Franson will be top 4 and will want to be paid as such (as he should be once he proves himself again).

Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

@Xxxxxnew 

Sure, but Frattin has only been in the league for what...50 games or so??  He was on a tear last year before he went in to get his knee cleaned up (didn't show much after that though).  If his performance before his surgery is any indication of things to come, he could be a pretty decent goal scorer.  Give him 5 or so seasons (like Kessel)...and he could be 3 away from 30 without any problem.

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Phil only has to improve by 3 to hit 40. Frattin has to improve by 22 to hit 30.

Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

@whalz 

I've been saying Stastny to the Leafs for awhile now.  Wouldn't surprise me in the slightest (though I don't know where we would find the cap space...lol).

whalz
whalz

call me crazy, but i still think Stastny ends up a leaf....not sure how or when  but id love to see PS to PK

Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

@GeorgeCastanza @Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 

Oh, I think Phil will score 40 before not too long.  He definitely has the potential for it.  Give him a better play making center than Bozak and he will be lights out.  I see your point about him (and Frattin) not achieving these feats yet though.

Savo43
Savo43

@VaiveOClockSomewhere @Savo43 Also, if rumors are true, Raymond will be a cheaper alternative than D'amigo at least in the cap world (rumored to be under a million if signed), Jerry is a mill+. 

Savo43
Savo43

@VaiveOClockSomewhere @Savo43 I guess so. I think Raymond is more of a 1-2 year stop gap at most though (until Leivo is ready). Hopefully D'amigo can stay optimistic and continue to pay his dues though, we WILL need him soon, injuries do happen. Also, if or when McClement decides to walk, or Kulemin leaves, we will need more penalty killers, hopefully he's patient, and when he gets his opportunity, can prove he can do more than just that. Love Jerry's work ethic, and attitude, but at the end of the day i wanna see us ice the most competitive team possible, and for me, right now, i think Raymond makes a bigger difference, at least offensively than D'amigo. Nothing wrong with being patient with young players. Raymond isn't exactly old either. I think he takes a big load off of the Clarkson expectations as well (Raymond does). 

VaiveOClockSomewhere
VaiveOClockSomewhere

@Savo43 I agree he's good. And brings skill. And I'm all for letting the guy try to prove himself to Carlyle and maybe steal a spot. But that brings up another reason I don't like it. The message it sends to a guy like D'Amigo (or whoever is next on the call up list). He's worked his ass off the last couple years to get a chance to make the big club. If that just gets given to an established NHLer walk-on who signs a friendly contract, it might be difficult for Spott to tell the kids on the Marlies "Work hard, every game, and you'll get our chance on the big club".

But I've been wrong before. Maybe more competition is always better?

Savo43
Savo43

Btw, Raymond also plays the powerplay, kills penalties and does well in the shootout.   Been raved by many Canuck fans to get in the shooting lanes better than anyone on their team over the past few years. 

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvPd3K2VZbY

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Heres some proof.

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Also some more highlights. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58GhzHWnVyo

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Not sure how ppl can't be excited at what he could bring to this team in a secondary role. Very skilled team player, could do great on our young team. 

VaiveOClockSomewhere
VaiveOClockSomewhere

@Savo43 Woah now. Lets not compare Raymond to Kessel (jk). Of course he can accommodate a top 5 NHL winger on his first line without needing him to be physical (although he did knock down Chara in the playoffs). But that doesn't mean he'll let that slide on the third line (read: grabo and macA gone).

And i say there may be room without Kadri because that's a missing roster spot. Doesn't matter if they play the same position (they have other options at center), all that matters is the roster spot.

Savo43
Savo43

@VaiveOClockSomewhere @Savo43 @-Keon- @GeorgeCastanza Carlyles style? At all?? Did you watch Carlyle play? He doesn't dislike the offensive side of the game, and one of Mason Raymonds assets caters to the style we WISHED to implement last year. That being the cycle and puck possession game (he also backchecks like a beast). He doesn't need to be an agitator. or physical specimen to make this club. Not with the additions we've made through trade and free agency. Much like with Kessel, Carlyle can accommodate Raymonds skillset with linemates who do the things he doesn't do well. There IS a spot open for Mason, even when Kadri comes back, and it'll be the 3rd line left winger spot (not sure why you think Kadri has anything to do with Raymond when then don't even play the same position). Raymond is blazing fast, has a deceptive shot (good release), and plays the cycle effectively with his nifty hands, awareness, and puck possession skills. Unfortunately he hasn't shown the same dominance as consistently in those areas since the boarding incident, but that being said, we've seen a certain player in our lineup prove the world wrong under worse circumstances. *cough* Lupul *cough*. There is most definitely room for Raymond on this hockey club, the rest is up to him. 

VaiveOClockSomewhere
VaiveOClockSomewhere

@Savo43 @-Keon- @GeorgeCastanza MacArthur played like he thought he was more skilled than he actually was. Tried to do too much by himself and ended up turning the puck over. That said, Brian Murray is one of - if not - the smartest GM(s) in the league. If he see's something in MacArthur, then he's probably right. I'm betting on a great season from him in Ottawa, but the Leafs are better without him. 

I can't see any way we make a spot for Raymond, unless Kadri remains unsigned. Raymond doesn't fit Carlyle's style at all.

Savo43
Savo43

@-Keon- @GeorgeCastanza Just timely scoring. Which was replaced :). Raymond is a skilled speedster with a deceptively good shot. Glad to regain a lot of the speed we've lost. Mason's got top 20 wheels in the game, theres a reason he was in the NHL skills for fastest skater not too long ago. Still only 27, and looking for some revival, i would love to see it here, not sure why you'd hope for anything else Keon.