As the first significant commitments of the new Leafs’ regime, Kadri and Rielly’s contracts push them past — wait for it — Nathan Horton as the Maple Leafs with the longest term on their deals.
Lamoriello bought four years of Kadri’s unrestricted free agency and two of Rielly’s. These are both cap-friendly contracts that should be able to be traded if necessary in the future.
The centre (a second-liner on a good team) has averaged an impressive 0.6 points per game over his career and will be eligible for a limited no-trade clause (10 teams) in 2017-18. The defenceman’s limited no-trade clause (also 10 teams) won’t kick in until 2020-21.
Kadri told Hockey Central at Noon (watch above) that he did agree to a lower average annual value in order to obtain the six years of security with his hometown club.
— Nazem Kadri (@43_Kadri) April 13, 2016
Stepping back to look at the term, age and salary cap hits for the still-developing players, the near-twin deals appear reasonable.
If Kadri — an analytics darling, master penalty drawer and improving checker — consistently plays on the level a Bryan Little or Sean Couturier, he’ll provide fantastic value. The cautionary tale here would be Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis, who followed up back-to-back 20-goal seasons with just three goals in 23 games this year.
A quick look at Rielly’s contract class makes one want to give Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill another high-five for last spring’s John Klingberg deal. Rielly will receive $2-million bonuses in the first, second and sixth years of his new deal, and if he plays on the level of comparables T.J. Brodie, Ryan McDonagh and Justin Faulk, he’ll be more than worth every penny.
Let’s look at some more comparable deals for both players, the starting blocks of coach Mike Babcock’s core.
Nazem Kadri’s cap comparables
Bryan Little, 5 years, $4.7 million cap hit, age 25 at signing
Tyler Ennis, 5 years, $4.6 million cap hit, age 24 at signing
Artem Anisimov, 5 years, $4.55 million cap hit, age 27 at signing
Nazem Kadri, 6 years, $4.5 million cap hit, age 25 at signing
Brandon Sutter, 5 years, $4.375 million cap hit, age 26 at signing
Sean Couturier, 6 years, $4.33 million cap hit, age 22 at signing
Craig Smith, 5 years, $4.25 million cap hit, age 25 at signing
Morgan Rielly’s cap comparables
Tyler Myers, 7 years, $5.5 million cap hit, age 21 at signing
Zach Bogosian, 7 years, $5.143 million cap hit, age 23 at signing
Morgan Rielly, 6 years, $5 million cap hit, age 22 at signing
Justin Faulk, 5 years, $4.833 million cap hit, age 22 at signing
T.J. Brodie, 5 years, $4.65 million cap hit, age 24 at signing
Ryan McDonagh, 6 years, $4.75 million cap hit, age 24 at signing
John Klingberg, 7 years, $4.25 million cap hit, age 22 at signing
(salary info via the excellent generalfanager.com)