Latest on Nazem Kadri, Ryan O’Reilly and Jordin Tootoo, and wondering if the Oilers should make a pitch for one of the Hurricanes’ goaltenders.
SPORTSNET: Stephen Burtch weighs in on the latest “scandal” to rock the Toronto Maple Leafs, that being the club’s decision to suspend center Nazem Kadri an additional two games because of a history of immature behavior. Burtch notes there’s been similar incidents with other NHL teams regarding immature young players, like the Boston Bruins with Tyler Seguin and the Philadelphia Flyers with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Those players were eventually traded, going on to stardom elsewhere. Burtch believes it would be a mistake for the Maple Leafs to do the same with Kadri, suggesting they follow the example of the Chicago Blackhawks with Patrick Kane, who overcame his immature partying ways to become a respected scoring star and playoff MVP. He notes Kadri has consistently produced offense while improving his puck-possession numbers.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington also compared Kadri’s situation with Seguin in Boston and Richards and Carter in Philadelphia. While Leafs president Brendan Shanahan didn’t specify what Kadri’s previous infractions were, Harrington claims it’s “pretty common knowledge Kadri likes the night life.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And the Leafs circus just keeps rolling along. At least this time it’s not all about Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel. I agree with Burtch that the Leafs shouldn’t over-react, but this latest incident is bound to stir some rival GMs to inquire this summer into Kadri’s availability, especially as he’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. As for the timing of this and Shanahan’s announcement, it can be argued this is heavy-handed or “poured gasoline on the fire”, but if you’re going to send a message to a talented but immature player, there’s probably no better time than late in the season when your team has zero chance of reaching the playoffs. It remains to be seen how Kadri reacts to this.
Avalanche still face questions about O’Reilly.
THE DENVER POST: Terry Frei recently reported the passing of the trade deadline doesn’t lessen the quandary the Colorado Avalanche face with forward Ryan O’Reilly. The 2014 Lady Byng Trophy winner still has a year left on his contract at a cap hit of $6 million ($6.2 million actual salary), is eligible for UFA status in July 2016 and could prove very expensive to re-sign.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avs management says all the right things about O’Reilly value to their team and their willingness to re-sign him, but are they prepared to potentially pony up over $7 million annually on a long-term deal? O’Reilly is poised to cash in big, either with the Avs or via free agency, where there will be general managers willing to overpay for his services. Unless the two sides can agree on a shorter term for less money (say, $6.5 million annually), this could end with O’Reilly hitting the UFA market in 2016 or the Avs trading him before then.
Should the Oilers make a pitch for a Hurricanes goalie?
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis recently pondered the possibility of the Edmonton Oilers making a pitch for one of the Carolina Hurricanes goaltenders this summer. Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin both have a year left on their respective contracts and become eligible for UFA status in 2016. Willis considers Khudobin the better of the two in performance and salary.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know what Hurricanes GM Ron Francis has in store for his goaltenders this summer. My guess is he’ll try to peddle Ward and retain Khudobin. I think the Oilers would be better off looking elsewhere for depth between the pipes.
Will the Devils re-sign Jordin Tootoo?
NJ.COM: Rich Chere reports Jordin Tootoo had a positive impact upon the Devils roster this season. GM Lou Lamoriello won’t say if he intends on bringing back Tootoo, who resurrected his NHL career this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Devils appear poised for a rebuild, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to retain those veterans who played well this season. Tootoo would be an affordable re-signing and perhaps an ongoing positive influence among their young players.