Updates on Nazem Kadri and Dion Phaneuf, plus questions over Ondrej Pavelec’s future with the Jets. 

Latest on the Leafs.

Will Nazem Kadri or Dion Phaneuf return with the Leafs next season?

Will Nazem Kadri or Dion Phaneuf return with the Leafs next season?

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes if the Maple Leafs didn’t consider Nazem Kadri worth keeping they would’ve ignored his “perceived indiscretions” and simply traded him in June. Simmons claims the Leafs front office likes Kadri’s talent but not his immaturity. Kadri’s recent three-game suspension was to sen him a message it’s time for the 24-year-old to grow up.

Simmons also notes that “three of the general managers I respect most in the NHL — Dean Lombardi in Los Angeles, Ken Holland in Detroit, Jim Nill in Dallas” – all have interest in reviving trade talks for Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf, leaving Simmons to wonder why the Leafs are trying to trade him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Where things get dicey for Kadri is his contract negotiations this summer, when he has arbitration rights. If the Leafs are truly committed to Kadri, will they pony up a long-term deal worth over $5 million per season? Does he even want a long-term deal? Could negotiations require arbitration to settle? And if so, how do the Leafs proceed after that?  

As for Phaneuf, I think those rival GMs are trying to see just how badly the Leafs want to move him by trying to squeeze them into taking on a big chunk of his $7 million per season salary while also hoping they’ll take on another bad contract (Mike Richards or Stephen Weiss). If the Leafs stand their ground, I think the interest from Lombardi, Holland and Nill evaporates.

Are Pavelec’s days in Winnipeg numbered? 

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen recently speculated over what the future holds for inconsistent Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. They could trade him in the offseason, though an NHL executive told Friesen that Pavelec’s trade value is minimal. They could buy out the remaining two years of his contract. Though he has an annual cap hit of $3.9 million, “his actual salary will be $4.25 million and $4.75 million,” which could be tough for a budget club like the Jets. If they keep him for next season, they’ll have an expensive backup on their hands.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A buyout is the easiest choice, as the buyout counts as $1.5 million annually against their cap over the next four years. If they’re unwilling to go that route, the other option is to pick up part of his salary or agreeing to take back a toxic contract in return. Ultimately, the buyout seems the best bet.