After being at a standstill for quite some time, contract negotiations between the Leafs and Nazem Kadri seem to finally be heating up. TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie appearing on ‘TSN Drive with Dave Naylor’ on TSN Radio 1050, said Kadri is asking for $7 million over two years while the Maple Leafs are offering $5.7 million for the same length of time. With both sides agreeing upon the length of the deal, a contract certainly seems much closer than it has in the previous weeks, in which it was believed that Kadri had long-term requests with around $5.5M per, as reported by McKenzie via Twitter.
The Toronto Maple Leafs’ offer of a two-year contract looks to be right on the mark of what Kadri deserves. After having a break-out year this past season in which he produced 44 points through 48 games, a bridge-deal is the most sensible option. It is yet to be determined whether the 22-year-old centerman can repeat his performance from last season, and a strong 48-game campaign certainly isn’t enough to prove a players long-term worth. The length of the contract is well-suited for Kadri’s circumstances, but what about the financials of the deal?
The Maple Leafs’ offer of $5.7M over two years is much more reasonable than the $7M that Kadri is asking for, shown by using P.K. Subban as an example. The 24-year-old defenseman for the Montreal Canadiens was in a similar position to Kadri’s just last season. The Habs struggled to reach an agreement over the off-season with Subban, an RFA at the time. The negotiations went into the beginning of the season, but were finally settled 4 games in when the two sides agreed upon a 2-year deal worth $5.75 million. Sound familiar? Subban’s contract is nearly the exact same as the current offer proposed to Kadri. The skill of the two players can’t really be compared as they are completely different players, but the value that each has to their team can be seen quite clearly. Subban is arguably one of the most important pieces to Montreal’s roster, and without him there would be a considerable hole in the Habs’ blue line. Also, unlike Kadri, Subban had played nearly two full seasons at the time of his contract negotiations, which had already established his worth with the Canadiens. Kadri had an important role on the Leafs last season, contributing strongly to the club’s offense, but only has one solid 48-game season under his belt. In all, if the 2012-13 season’s Norris Trophy winner can live with a two-year bridge deal just shy of three million per, I’m sure Kadri can as well.
With training camp just days away, hopefully Kadri can agree to a reasonable contract with Leafs, and optimistically, leave room for current RFA Cody Franson to re-sign as well. There is still work remaining for the Leafs in order to get the young centerman inked, but an agreement upon the length of the deal is definitely a step in the right direction.