Nazem Kadri was stuck behind two highly skilled players on the Toronto Maple Leafs depth chart, but a modified no-trade clause allowed him to turn down a deal to the Calgary Flames.
The 28-year-old centre reportedly vetoed a trade that would’ve sent him from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Calgary Flames, with T.J. Brodie as the centrepiece in return.
This is, arguably, a lesser return than what Kyle Dubas was able to pry away from the Colorado Avalanche, whose salary cap space and surplus of defencemen allowed them to make a significant move.
The Toronto Maple Leafs dealt from a positional strength in order to bolster their defence with Tyson Barrie, while minimizing potential losses at centre with the trade’s inclusion of Alexander Kerfoot.
Kadri Says No
According to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, Kadri turned down a trade that would have sent him and Connor Brown to the Flames for T.J Brodie and Mark Jankowski.
Brodie is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2019-20 NHL season, the same as Barrie, and comes at a cost of $4.65 million against the salary cap.
Offensively, the 29-year-old was limited to 34 points which is exactly what he’s averaged over the last three seasons. The defensive impact is where Brodie’s value lies.
Yes, he’s a left hander, but the evidence is mounting that the Leafs don’t care about that.
Supplemental pieces in the deal likely wouldn’t make up for the loss of Kadri, who ultimately prevented this move from being made thanks to his no-trade clause. Toronto should be thankful for that.
Shopping a player of Kadri’s calibre isn’t easy, however, Barrie fills a need the Leafs have been looking to address for years. He instantly becomes Toronto’s best right-handed defender since Cody Franson, at only 50 percent of his salary cap hit no-less.
The optics will not favour the defenceman’s pending UFA status, but it neglects the included acquisition of Alexander Kerfoot, and the fact that acquiring Brodie would have been a similar scenario.
Kerfoot is a 24-year-old forward that can play either centre of the wing, and projects to take over Kadri’s role as the third line centre.
With similar point production last season, the risk favours Toronto in that they may replace most of, if not all, of Kadri’s offensive contributions even without factoring Barrie into the equation. He has only two NHL seasons under his belt, posting 43 and 42 points consecutively, which bodes well for his potential to progress.
Mark Jankowski is a good player, similar to Kerfoot in age and ability, though maybe not quite as good.
Overall, it appears that Kadri’s last act as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs really helped the team out, since by rejecting the Calgary trade, the Leafs ended up making a better one.