Both Nazem Kadri and Morgan Rielly are set to remain with the Toronto Maple Leafs for six more National Hockey League seasons. The Toronto Maple Leafs recently signed both Kadri and Rielly to six-year deals, as reported by the Toronto Sun.
— CBS Sports NHL (@CBSSportsNHL) April 13, 2016
Nazem Kadri was set to become a restricted free agent (RFA) after this season. He was on a one-year bridge contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs worth $4.1 million. His new contract with the Maple Leafs, according to the website CapFriendly, while not confirmed, appears to have an average-annual-value (AAV) of $4.5 million.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have had Nazem Kadri on their roster, alternating time with their AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies, since the 2009-10 NHL season, when he appeared in one game for the Leafs. Kadri caught on full-time as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs beginning with the 2013-14 season. He notched an impressive 50 points (20 goals, 30 assists) for the Maple Leafs in that first full campaign. A former seventh-overall draft pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2009, Kadri led the Maple Leafs in points this season with 45 (17 goals, 28 assists).
Although the Maple Leafs have decided to part ways with some of their key players, including captain Dion Phaneuf in a recent trade with the Ottawa Senators, they have retained a key cog in Nazem Kadri. At 25 years-old, the left-shooting pivot can be a piece which the Maple Leafs build around.
Toronto has been undergoing a youth movement with a rebuild of their team. Former New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello, who built a team that won three Stanley Cups, has taken over the reigns for the Maple Leafs and is re-engineering the team. Lamoriello was brought on at the behest of Maple Leafs’ team president Brendan Shanahan.
Morgan Rielly can certainly be considered a part of the youth movement in Toronto. The right-defenseman is coming off a contract that would have left him as a RFA, like Kadri. His current contract, expiring after this season, carries an average-annual-value (AAV) of approximately $1.74 million. His new contract, according to the website CapFriendly, will carry an AAV of $5 million (although this number is not confirmed at this time). Rielly, like Kadri, is a former first-round draft pick for Toronto, selected with the number five overall selection in the 2012 NHL draft.
The 2013-14 NHL season saw Rielly join the Toronto Maple Leafs full-time. In that first full season with the Maple Leafs, Rielly showed his skill as a setup man from the point as he contributed 25 assists to go with two goals for 27 points overall. Rielly built upon that number over the next two consecutive seasons with Toronto. In 2014-15, the Toronto defenseman notched 29 points (8 goals, 21 assists), and in 2015-16 Rielly put up 36 points (9 goals, 27 assists). As noted on the Toronto Maple Leafs website, Rielly’s point total this season led all defenseman on the team.
Now that the Maple Leafs have locked up two of their key players for an extended period of time, they will have some work to do in order to lower their overall salary cap space and provide room to sign some of their younger players. Toronto has a plethora of draft picks in the queue as a result of some smart trade activity undertaken by Lou Lamoriello and his team earlier this year. The Maple Leafs have approximately $71.3 million in salary on their roster, with under $200,000 in cap space according to the CapFriendly website.
Toronto does have a few unrestricted-free-agents (UFAs) as well as RFAs who could come off their books this summer. Teams usually sign their RFAs, and those in question will come at a discounted rate to what Kadri and Rielly recently reportedly received.