A report out of the Edmonton Journal this morning suggests one of the most interesting, yet peculiar things I have ever heard regarding NHL athletes who are hesitating to sign a new contract with their current team because they feel that they deserve much more money (respect).
Nazem Kadri was drafted into the Maple Leafs organization a long time ago, never really fit the bill until this past year when he had 44 points through a shortened season. Now, with the Leafs trying to keep as much together dating back to that Travesty in Beantown where Kadri had a goal that should be been one of the game-winners, the 22-year old from London, isn’t happy with the club’s current offer, and nobody even seems to know what that offer is.
So, with the lure of the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), maybe this is where Kadri could be setting his sights as it does not seem to be likely that he will settle for that deal proposed to him by Leafs.
“If Nazem Kadri really feels strongly that the current offers to him from the Toronto Maple Leafs undervalue his contribution to the team, his only real play is to investigate signing in the KHL,” says the Journal this morning.
As it stands, Kadri and the Leafs are at an impasse. Like the Montreal Canadians are now somewhat famous for, making popular the idea of what is known as a ‘bridge contract’ when they were having problems getting P.K. Subban back under contract, it is thought that this would be the best call for the Leafs given the Kadri situation.
The bridge contract is believed to be a short-term deal at lower value while Kadri apparently wants a second contract that puts him on similar grounds as the game’s top young stars, says the Journal.
It is very interesting to note that the Journal did not use the word ‘other’ in that sentence in front of the word ‘top’.
Around the hockey circles, it is also believed that Kadri wants something along the lines of what the Islanders gave John Tavares (6 years at a value of about $5.5M per). Supposedly the Leafs want about half of that.
Unfortunately for Kadri, there isn’t much he can do to get the Leafs to pay him more and there is no other league in North America that the hot shot can shop himself too. Maybe he is hoping to hold out long enough to see if Toronto’s other centres (Tyler Bozak, newly acquired David Clarkson and David Bolland and Leo Komarov, Joe Colborne and Jay McClement) falters somehow and can’t get the job done which could make Leafs have to sign Kadri. Could that be the plan?
What else could happen is if Kadri is signed to an offer sheet by another team?
Possibly the worst situation would be if the team feels the pain of Kadri’s loss (by losing in the early going of the season) and Kadri comes back to a team and plays in front of a fan base that resents the fact he was willing to let them lose hockey games in exchange for a few extra dollars on a seven-figure deal.