As we near the month of September, and training camps get closer to opening, there is still some degree of concern over whether or not the Toronto Maple Leafs will be able to agree to a new deal with forward Nazem Kadri before the 2013-14 season gets underway.
Kadri is a restricted free agent, coming off of a brilliant season. The only reason that the Maple Leafs haven’t thrown huge money at him is the fact that it was his first season of consistency at this level with the Leafs. And it came in a shortened 48-game season. They likely want him to prove himself over the long term.
As contract talks continue to stall, we wondered which side was holding up the talks, or if it was a matter of which type of deal Kadri should get. With recent reports coming out, the new indication is that Nazem Kadri and his camp are responsible for the talks moving as slowly as they are.
Kadri sees himself as a superstar. While that may be true at some point down the line, he has yet to prove it over more than one season at this level. There’s no doubt he was terrific for Toronto, as he was a major piece of one of the league’s top offensive attacks. But it was only one season.
The Maple Leafs may be looking to get him signed to more of a bridged deal, a short term contract that will line him up for a massive new contract in two or three years. Kadri may be wanting the big money now, rather than waiting. Which is why he still finds himself holding RFA status, rather than being under contract.
The thing about the hold up in talks is that Kadri may not even be at risk of an offer sheet. Teams may not want to surrender draft picks for a player with one year of success, even with his potential. At least, competent general managers will not. This deal will get done eventually, though, even if Kadri has to wait until after the season begins.