The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed center Nazem Kadri and defenseman Morgan Rielly to six-year contract extensions, the team announced Wednesday. Both players were set to become restricted free agents over the summer.
Bob McKenzie reports that Kadri’s deal carries an AAV of $4.5 million ($27 million total) and Rielly’s deal carries a $5 million AAV ($30 million total). Elliotte Friedman adds that both have 10-team no trade protection.
The deals lock up two key young players that will help form part of the team’s foundation in the current rebuild. The deals are also coming at a very reasonable value. These look pretty good now, and could look even better in a couple seasons.
“The past couple years I’ve kind of turned the page and worked as hard as I could to be a professional on and off the ice and I think so far it’s been going well for me,” Kadri said Sunday as the team cleared out the locker room after finishing 30th in the standings.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 13, 2016
In 82 games this season, Rielly posted nine goals and 27 assists, ranking fourth on the team in total points. Part of that him ranking so high is no doubt the massive number of injuries and trades that happened this season for the Leafs.
Rielly averaged more ice time than any other player on the team at 23:14. He also led the team in blocked shots with 122 (though it should be assumed that Roman Polak would have led the team if he had been there the whole season).
He had a -2.08% CF%Rel while taking -5.48% relative zone starts. Those zone starts are worse than they seem. That actually equals out to 29.99% offensive zone starts, which is a bit of a mess.
For his part, Kadri posted 17 goals and a team-leading 45 points. He struggled to get the puck in the net through large portions of the season, despite blowing past previous career-best shooting totals. He fired 260 shots on net, but shot at a 6.5% success rate in all situations, well below his career average of 10.5% (inclusive of this season).
If Kadri would have shot at his career average rate, he would have accumulated 27 goals.
Additionally, Kadri exhibited a well-rounded game, posting a 1.39% score-adjusted CF%Rel while getting close to even relative zone starts (1.38% relative, which is just 33.33% of his total zone starts coming in the offensive zone).
Kadri was given a one-year “prove it” contract with Toronto last summer, and he’s proven an ability to be a reliable center for the team. Despite many criticisms being leveled at him, the new regime is clearly more concerned with process than results in the early phases of this rebuild, and that’s probably the right approach. It’s giving them a solid center at a very reasonable deal.
Advanced stats via Corsica.
Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.