Every trade has its silver lining, and it didn’t take Nazem Kadri long to find his.
After ten years with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the centreman was dealt to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday along with Calle Rosen and a third-round pick in exchange for defenceman Tyson Barrie, forward Alexander Kerfoot and a sixth-round draft pick.
“I think this is a little unfamiliar territory for me, so I’m just trying to step out of my comfort zone. But I know it’s going to be the best thing for my career,” Kadri said during a Wednesday evening appearance on Prime Time Sports. “My focus is on just helping Colorado get to that next level and I feel I’m capable of that.”
Early assessments of Monday’s transaction fall into the rare category of being an equally beneficial exchange for both clubs — one looking for another top-six weapon and the other in desperate need of help on the blue line.
“I know it’s a bit of a change and I’m going to miss Toronto, but at the end of the day I’m a professional and I have to perform,” Kadri said of the trade.
As the longest-tenured Maple Leaf at the time of the trade, Kadri helped Toronto through some lean years and into a new era of contention. Now, he could prove to be one of the final puzzle pieces for a young Avalanche team entering its own prime and looking to make some noise in the playoffs.
“That was the silver lining: Great organization led by Joe Sakic and Jared [Bednar] behind the bench,” Kadri said. “They’ve given me nothing but confidence to step in and do what I do. They’re going to be contenders for a long time and I’m certainly looking to be part of that.”
Kadri has been eying Nathan MacKinnon’s dangerous power-play unit, saying “I’m looking to add to that.” He added that seeing the talent in Colorado “certainly makes leaving a little easier.”
Kadri, who also posted a message to Leafs Nation on Instagram after the trade, said he wishes Toronto all the best.
“I’ve got a lot of friends on that team, so I’ll be cheering for ’em,” he said.
Of course, Kadri hasn’t departed for Denver just yet… and considering you can’t have a conversation in Toronto these days without a mention of a certain NBA free agent, the forward was asked about what he makes of the ongoing Kawhi Leonard waiting game. Kadri had a bit of advice for those on #KawhiWatch:
“Kawhi’s a special player, one of the best in the league. He deserves all the attention,” he said. “But if I was Toronto, I think I’d maybe back off just a little bit, give him some space to think and hopefully he makes the right decision.”
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10 years, what can I say. Words cannot describe what this city means to me. You welcomed me in as a boy and watched me grow and evolve in front of your eyes. Thank you for opening your arms up and making me feel right at home. You asked for my heart and I gave you my soul. Forever a special place in my heart. That being said, I believe my best years are in front of me and I cannot wait to join my new team. The new chapter starts now, thank you Toronto for everything you have done for me, I will never forget it