Home 2013 Leafs Training Camp

As training camps opened this week, the last of the RFAs have begun to re-sign with their clubs.  Most notably, Leaf phenom Nazem Kadri signed a two year pact that will pay him $2.9-million per season.  A hundred or so miles down the road, the Buffalo Sabres locked up their star RFA centre Cody Hodgson to a six-year deal at $4.25-million per year.

Last season, Kadri had a stellar 44 points in 48 games; Hodgson had a good but not great 34 in 48 games.  For their careers, Kadri has a .636 points per game average (63 points in 99 games played) compared to Hodgson’s .554 (73 pts in 139 GP).  So why does Hodgson get $20-million and four years more than Kadri?

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An interesting development in the Cody Franson contract talks today, one that seems to explain the reported desire from Franson’s camp to sign a one-year contract for the second summer in a row. Darren Dreger is reporting that the Leafs are not willing to give Franson the one-year contract he’s asking for as the negotiations sit idle with camp underway.

If Dreger’s information is accurate, this is an interesting case where the Leafs appear to actually want to bridge a player to unrestricted free agency rather than renegotiate with him as an RFA in an off-season where the team has a whack of important players on expiring contracts. The fear on Nonis’ behalf is that a one-year contract puts the Leafs in a situation where they could easily lose Franson next off-season, when the Leafs are vulnerable (may not be able to afford him, and he could file for arbitration).

No surprises, unless inviting pretty much every member of the organization plus the rookie camp invitees and Mason Raymond is a surprise. Among the undrafted and unsigned are Matt Rupert, Zachary Yuen, Trevor Murphy and Kevin Raine. Raymond is the lone attendee on a PTO.

Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson are on the roster, of course, but will likely not attend tomorrow unless something changes with their contract situations. The players will do their physicals and meet with the media tomorrow before their first on-ice sessions on Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Mastercard Centre.

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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).

The Leafs wrapped up what was a pretty good weekend by imploding in the third period and losing handily, but that doesn’t take away from some of the positives that were shown overall.

There were some youngsters who had good weekends, others who had very good weekends, and a few who struggled. In other news, the Leafs also have a new player coming to training camp in Mason Raymond.

You know hockey is back when there are actual relevant games and players to talk about all of a sudden. Here are some scattered thoughts on the weekend that was:

A testament both to a sinking cap ceiling and a fall in the player’s stock, former 25 goal scorer in 2009-10 Mason Raymond went without a contract offer this summer (or at least, he went without one he was willing to sign). The GM who drafted him in the second round in 2005 (Nonis) has invited him to Leafs training camp on a Professional Tryout Agreement.