The negotiations for a new contract between restricted free agent forward Nazem Kadri and the Toronto Maple Leafs seem to be getting worse every day, even as we close in on the final stretch before training camps get underway across the league.
The sides still seem too far apart. Whether it’s the type of deal (bridge or long-term) or the money, the hangup appears to be more on the side of Kadri, who, after one season as an offensive force in this league, believes he should be making the big bucks.
Which is why the Maple Leafs hold all of the power in these negotiations. The Maple Leafs are in a position where they could survive without Kadri. They have enough offensive firepower. Of course, if he slots in as a no. 2 center, he’s more difficult to replace, which is probably part of what his camp is pressing in the negotiations.
Kadri is a restricted free agent. He’s coming off of a brilliant season. One would think it’d be a no brainer to lock him up on a new contract. But with the kind of contract Kadri is reportedly looking for, talks have stalled and don’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
However, while Kadri might want to be paid like an elite offensive player, as reports indicate, he hasn’t quite earned that yet. Not after one season of consistency. Teams aren’t going to swoop in and offer sheet him after one year, even with his potential. They’re not going to lose draft picks for a relatively unproven commodity.
The power in the negotiations lies in the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs here. Kadri is coming off of one good year, and is currently a low risk for an offer sheet. There’s no reason to think that the Leafs won’t come out ahead when a new deal is eventually reached, with the power currently residing in their corner.