Toronto Maple Leafs: What Kind Of Contract Will Nazem Kadri Receive?

Nazem Kadri

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs still have not agreed to deals with restricted free agents Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson has certainly been a point of concern among their fans, and there’s no question that with training camps just a couple of weeks away, you’d like them to be locked up as soon as possible.

Part of the holdup could just be an issue of what type of contract each side is hoping to see. We haven’t heard much from either side, and it’s likely just a case of them dragging their feet, with little fear of an offer sheet. Still, the question of what type of deal they should get, Kadri in particular, is an interesting one.

The question is whether or not they want to sign him to a shorter term deal and make him earn that next big contract, or if they want to take advantage of his excellent 2013 campaign and lock him up for the next several years. Both make some sense on certain levels, but with Kadri only having that one really successful season, the former could make more.

After a few years of waiting for the young forward to break out, the Maple Leafs received top notch production from Kadri in 2013. He was among their leaders in offensive production, on a team that has multiple offensive weapons. He finished with 44 points in 48 games, good for second on the team. His 18 goals were tied for no. 2 on the team as well.

There’s no doubt that Kadri has high end offensive skill, but can he carry that type of scoring rate into the next few seasons? As he transitions to center full time, it’ll be interesting to see if he takes a step back at any point. The fact that he has only had that one successful year does make things a bit clouded for him as far as his future is concerned.

Kadri may very well be an upper tier offensive player in this league. But with so little success to back it up at this point, the Leafs should go with the shorter term deal, perhaps two or three years, to allow him to prove his value to the team. Then lock him up on a long term deal, when there will likely be more financial flexibility as well.

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  • Tennis Newz

    It’s tough to sign a guy to a big contract based on one good season in which he was playing in the AHL for the first half of the season while a lot of guys weren’t playing at all. It helps being in game shape while other players aren’t. Maybe his play will carry over into next season, or maybe it’ll be more like how he was playing near the end of the season and into the playoffs where he was fairly ineffective.

  • Robert Mic Freeman

    Tough call. I’m sure like any player he would prefer longer term but that doesn’t make sense after such a small sample of success. I really don’t doubt that he’ll continue to develop and contribute but there’s also the possibility that he’ll attract more attention on the 2nd line and maintaining his production could be tougher than he expects. A 2 year bridge deal worth around $2.75 million seems to make the most sense at this point. I suspect Nonis will have to go a little higher to get it done and then have to do some serious cap juggling before the season starts. There’s also the possibility that someone gets moved to make cap room. Teams always get a little more desperate towards the start of the season. I’m sure Franson will get inked as well. No need to panic. : )

  • Steven L

    Kadri is going to be a solid player. How much he improves remains to be seen. Was last year a peak type season for him? Or can he continue to improve and has he shown the desire to continue to improve during his tenure with the Leafs. It seems to me that he has and, I believe he has earned a three year deal for 5.5 million. They may have to give him a tad more and free up some cap space but that can be done. I look forward to watching him get better with the team over the next few years.