4. Nazem Kadri, Center, 28 years old, Toronto Maple Leafs
Nazem Kadri is a high-end defensive center who has potted 30+ goals the two seasons proceeding the John Tavares era in Toronto. Routinely tasked with handling the oppositions best players, Kadri has been a key part of the Maple Leafs return to prominence.
The Anaheim Ducks are in need of a true second line center and Kadri is entering his prime. Not to mention, he has a very manageable salary cap hit ($4.5mil) for the next 3 campaigns. He is routinely a positive player in the puck possession department and brings a physical presence the Ducks sorely missed last season.
Kadri isn’t old, but he has a lot of miles on his body. He plays a physical brand of hockey and has had extended exposure in the NHL for almost 10 years. Ryan Kesler is a similar type player and Anaheim Duck fans are all too cognizant of how that signing has panned out. Kadri is younger and signed for a team friendly price, but it’s something to monitor. What also has to be monitored is his penchant for suspensions, which is discussed below.
Why He’s Available
Anyone watching the playoffs knows why Toronto is open to moving the talented center. The overly-aggressive Kadri has been suspended in each of the past two playoffs for reckless hits to the opponents head. Not being able to ice one the teams best players in an elimination game due to suspension is enough to make any coach/GM stir crazy.
In such a hockey heavy market, negative pressure from the media could be the driving force behind General Manage Kyle Dubas trading the pivot. With Mitch Marner and several other players needing new contracts, Dubas may be looking to move Kadri to free up salary and recoup young, cost-controlled assets and/or picks as well.