Even if the return in the trade made a lot of sense, dealing Nazem Kadri – a cost-controlled top-six calibre centre who the Leafs were able to roll out on their third line – certainly wasn’t an easy thing for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ front office to do.
Obviously, the Leafs needed to shore up the right side of their defence – which newcomer Tyson Barrie will do for at least next season – and with Kadri coming off two consecutive seasons in which he received a suspension in the first round of the playoffs, along with the fact he had a very reasonable contract (4.5M AAV for the next three seasons), it appeared as if there was no better time for Toronto to move on from him.
The thing is, though, quality at the centre position comes at a premium. In today’s day-and-age, you’ll seldom see an NHL team possess the magnitude of depth down the middle that the Leafs had with Kadri installed in a third-line role behind the likes of Auston Matthews and John Tavares.
The last time the NHL saw a three-headed monster comparable to that trio of Leafs centreman was the Pittsburgh Penguins’ tandem of Sidney …
Author: Jacob Stoller / The Leafs Nation