Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 25, 2013.

Updates on Nazem Kadri and Marcus Johansson, plus the latest on some notable unsigned unrestricted free agents.

Nazem Kadri reportedly seeking a long-term, big money deal.

Nazem Kadri reportedly seeking a long-term, big money deal.

SPORTSNET.CA: David Alter reports the Toronto Maple Leafs and center Nazem Kadri remain far apart in contract negotiations. Alter claimed the Kadri camp initially sought a six-year, $6 million per season contract but have since lowered the dollar amount down to $5 million per season ” as a means to help the Leafs with their current cap squeeze.” The Leafs, meanwhile, are interested in signing Kadri to a two-year, $6 million deal.  Defenseman Cody Franson is also seeking a long-term contract, which explains why he didn’t file for salary arbitration this summer.

Following Alter’s report, Kadri responded via Twitter that it was “so inaccurate its actually humorous”, prompting Alter to reply he was going by what he was told and would be happy to set the record straight.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes if Kadri were being reasonable, the Maple Leafs would’ve re-signed him by now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Kadri is actually seeking $5 million or $6 million per season on a long-term deal, he’d better prepare for a long wait. With $4.9 million in cap space, the Leafs cannot afford to pay Kadri that much even if they wanted to, which I doubt.

While I don’t fault Kadri for pursuing an expensive long-term deal as a restricted free agent, he’s simply not worth that much, especially after a lockout-shortened season in which (as Alter points out) he managed only nine points in his final nineteen games (including the playoffs).

I consider the tw0-year, $6 million deal the Leafs are reportedly offering to be too high, especially given the Leafs cap concerns, though they could demote a lesser-talented player (Colton Orr, for example) to free up sufficient cap space. Two years, $2.4 million per season is plenty for Kadri. After that, if he builds on last season’s promise, he’ll be justified going for the big money.

Kadri has no leverage here except to stage a holdout, and as I’ve repeatedly noted, that tactic rarely works in today’s salary cap world.

CSN WASHINGTON: Brian McNally reports Capitals GM George McPhee, having signed UFA center Mikhail Grabovski, is now turning his attention to re-signing RFA winger Marcus Johansson before training camp opens next month.  The Capitals have about $2.67 million in cap space. Neither side is speaking to the press about the status of negotiations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johansson is coming off an entry-level contract worth $900K per season. He had a career-best 46 points during his sophomore season, and despite being hampered by a concussion early last season finished with 22 points in 34 games. I’m guessing the Caps could offer a two year bridge contract worth up to $1.8 million per season.

SPORTSNET.CA: Luke Fox ranked Damien Brunner, Tim Thomas, Brenden Morrow, Ilya Bryzgalov, Brad Boyes, Teemu Selanne, Ryan Whitney, Ron Hainsey, Mason Raymond and Vinny Prospal as the best remaining unrestricted free agents.

BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont speculates “unless there’s a surprise involving Tim Thomas” he doubts the veteran goalie will be in an NHL camp next month, citing his former agent Bill Zito joining Columbus Blue Jackets management. Dupont suggests perhaps he could join the Blue Jackets camp to work out and keep his name out there.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson speculates the lessened mobility of former Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney is scaring off potential suitors. Matheson still believes Whitney has enough skills to land with another NHL team on a one-year, $1 million deal.


  1. Hmmm wonder what the Leafs could get for Kadri annnnd Franson :-)

  2. I could see the Leafs going 2.5, 3.5 ($6-mill) for Kadri on a two year deal

    • All of this group of kids that are all RFA’s and asking for big money are crazy. One year of production doesn’t land you the big deal. Especially when you have zero leverage.

      Henrique, Hodgeson and Kadri among others are fooling themselves that they can force a big deal. Just look at Subban, there is a prime example of what the can expect. They should all stop being so demanding and sign a bridge deal for what they are worth now, not their value in 3 years.

      (more kids wanting to run the show before they have earned it)

      • What screwed it up was last year before the lock out when teams like Edmonton were giving young players the rediculous deals…hopefully the teams and gms hold out this year and put an end to the large unearned deals

        • What ridiculous deals are you referring to ?

  3. 4hockey sticks 3 hockey pucks

  4. I personally think Kadri will be an elite player…..I hope the Leafs don’t blow it and have Kadri end up on an American team thats isn’t afraid to gamble on potential talent. ONLY nine points in final 19 games…..I’m sure some big name players have had spells like this even after they have fully matured.

    • Kadri has potential to be a great player. Work on his defensive part is key. One thing though from last year is some of his percentages where ridiculously high and will come down

      • Hi face-off performance is abysmal, combined with his defensive play are the two major reasons why he didn’t steal the #1 Centre spot last year.
        I fear his performance this year will be sub-par.
        #1 an 82 game season vs a 48 game season are 2 very different beasts
        #2 Kadri is not part of Gary Robert’s Performance Program this off-season (which he was last off season prior and during the lock-out) the program boasts some big names like Stamkos etc.
        I think that’s why he did so well.

  5. I have written before that once one of these guys (Stepan, Hodgeson, Kadri, Henrique, Johannson or Cowen) sign, the rest will following. These guys haven’t really earned the right to make $5M a year as they need to improve in certain areas – Hodgeson and Kadri need to improve on faceoffs and defensively. In all honesty, they should look at signing a 2 year bridge deal in the area of $2M the first year and then $2.5- $3 the second, then go for the long term big buck deal. Out of all of them, I think Stepan is probably worth a little more – maybe $2.5 for year 1 and $3 for year 2.

    But, like dominos – I think once one signs, the rest will sign.

  6. I just don’t understand the unadultrated greed that these young guys possess. Just what makes a guy who has been up and down between the show and the A for a couple years and then does fairly well in only 48 games, think that he is worth a boat load of money before he has shown he can consistantly show he is worth anywhere near what hes asking for? I really hope Nonis makes the greedy little puke sit out till after Christmas or longer if need be. The GM’s in this league have to draw a line in the ice and stick to it or we are going to have another big problem in a very short period of time.(ala lockout). I like Kadri as he has some exceptional skills but if nothing can be worked out soon I would prefer they trade him somewhere so he can toil in relative obscurity in a city where the media ranks hockey down with dodgeball. That goes for the other RFA’a in the same situation as well.
    Kadri knows how much cap room the team has left to spend, so in asking for what he is signifies he really doesn’t care what happens to Franson or any other player on the team that has to be shipped out to accommodate his wishes. A real team player. How does he look in the mirror and say to himself with all honesty he is worth 5 or 6 mil at this point in his career. Give your head a shake Nazem and tell your agent to quite trying to stuff his own pockets at yours, the team, and the fans expense. Just grow the frack up.

    • And what makes you so sure the idiot reporting this “greed” isn’t full of it to sell papers. How many times do you need to see them being dead wrong before dummies realize that they are full of it.

      • If Kadri was willing to accept a reasonable bridge contract, don’t you think it would have been done by now? I realise that some of the media reports are not worth much but a lot of the time rumours get started because they are actually based on fact. Not only that, where have you been? have not the players been getting ridiculous contracts not just recently but in the last several years. Some GM’s are also to blame but most of the onus lands squarely on the players and their agents. I don’t consider myself to belong in the dummy category either Ron thank-you very much, sorry you didn’t like what was nothing more than my opinion.

        • Im not agreeing on the dummy part, but if you look around the league Im thinking GMs know they have all the leverage and are using it on RFAs with bridge deals alot more than they used too, unless they have the luxury of lots of cap room. Del Zotto, Subban Couturier, Rask, Gagner, Duchene, O Reilly till Feaster screwed it up, Brodie, even Giroux with his 3 year deal with a 3.75 cap hit before his extension there are tones of examples so no I dont think many RFAs get ridiculous deals. If I was Kadri why would I sign a contract too early? The Leafs may offer more…probably not much but there is no need to jump the gun and sign a deal just to get it done. Both sides will wait it out possibly say some things that in truth arent 100% accurate and see who blinks first its the way things work. Im not so sure both Franson and Kadri get done there just is not much pie to divide up but I am just about 100% sure with the lack of prospects to play in the top 6 Kadri is a priority to sign over Franson. Kadri at least will get a contract before the start of the season.

      • Agreed with Ron….I believe this probably was a bit of an exaggeration to sell some papers. I am sure Kadri isnt so thick in the head to think he was going to get paid 6 mill per 6 years during his first negotiations, and honestly if he is as high on himself as most think, I doubt he would lock him self in to a 6 year deal when if he took a shorter term and performed well he could potentially get a substantially bigger deal with a longer term a year or 2 down the road.

        • IagreewithbothRonandschtickyonthisaswell.

          • Anybody else? Guess I’m just disallusioned with players thinking more about their wallet than the game it self.

          • Of course these guys think about money first. They would not do this for free. Get the money while you are young and you can sit on alot of it which will give you more flexibility later to play for whoever you want and be as flexible money wise as you want. I have no doubt the opening price tossed out could be as high as 6 Million but you start far to try and swing the middle in your favour. Kadri will get signed for a reasonable deal. It will not be a long term deal. He may hold out for a while but he will fall inline and get more than what the leafs were offering. The kid overachieved last year and he’s trying to bank as much cash out of that just in case he doesn’t live up to it later on.

          • I’m in agreement as well with the assessment here. Good point on Feaster. Complete stupidity on their their part. Funny what would have happened if the Avs didn’t match. That being said, no one other than the agents win in the offer sheet scenario. Play at the elite level CONSISTENTLY and the money will come.

    • I don’t blame the players as much as I blame the agents.
      Players tell the agent “You take care of it” and back off.
      The agent is the one telling him “We’re doing great, I can get you a boat-load of money, just keep your trust in me”
      Which doesn’t always look (see Alfredson)

  7. They Owners, in the last CBA negotiations, should have gotten some type of control on the first contracts coming out of entry level deals.

    Cap the percentage increase allowed from the ELC to the first contract. These contracts will continue to be trouble for teams to deal with. Some of these kids are just asking for too much money.

    I guess they wait for 9 yrs — until the next CBA and lockout — to get this issue solved..

  8. What is up with Hockey Canada not being able to come up with the insurance money for 3 short practices? I would guess that there are at least a sponsor or two that could of come up with the money for the insurance and aired the ice time on cable or internet and combined it with a promotional opportunity. Or is it Hockey Canada is just taking a different approach- which is fine, but just say it.

  9. This is what happens when you go out and make a dumb move by signing Bozak to $4.2M. Nonis set the bar to high.
    Expect Kadri to hold tight for now.

  10. Although a slightly different situation – Henrique has signed for 6yrs, 24mil in NJ.

    I think it’s a contract that works well for both sides. Will be interesting to see what, if any role this will play on other RFA negotiations.

    • Tough to say, the Devils had some room