Many believe Nazem Kadri is playing out his final season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Should the Vancouver Canucks try and acquire the 28-year-old?
Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning has never been in position to trade for established veterans, instead having to focus on rebuilding this team with young talent.
But with plenty of cap space this offseason — and an enticing young core led by Elias Pettersson — this might be the year where Benning looks to get more aggressive in the free agent and trade markets.
It’s anybody’s guess what kind of players Benning may target this offseason, but could Toronto Maple Leafs centre Nazem Kadri be a possible fit? He’s been suspended for the remainder of the first round against the Boston Bruins, following an ugly hit to forward Jake DeBrusk.
Many believe that the 28-year-old could be moved out this offseason, due to his long history of dirty hits and suspensions. This includes Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun and Adam Gretz of Pro Hockey Talk.
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The Maple Leafs also have to give Mitch Marner (a pending RFA) a massive extension this offseason, and general manager Kyle Dubas will need to get crafty in order to create cap space for his star player.
The Canucks could certainly use a player like Kadri, a two-time 30-goal scorer with three 50-point seasons on his resume. He’s a reliable two-way player and registered a 54.0 Corsi For percentage this season. Kadri has scored 16-plus goals every year since 2012-13. You know what you’re getting in him, at least on offence.
But can the Canucks overlook his problems on the ice and take the chance? Remember, this is a man who avoided suspension after a dangerous hit to the head of Daniel Sedin in a Nov. 2016 game.
The Canucks could probably get Kadri at a reasonable price, if the Leafs decide they’re desperate to move on from him. You also wonder if this is the time where Benning would trade blueliner Chris Tanev, who would be a nice add to Toronto’s defence.
And for those who think the Canucks don’t want a pest and agitator? Well, they had Alexandre Burrows, Raffi Torres and Maxim Lapierre. All three of them helped the Canucks reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.
I personally believe the Canucks should avoid trading for a player who might not be so welcomed — both in the locker room and in Vancouver. Nobody has forgotten about the aforementioned hit on Daniel. And Benning might not want to sacrifice any key assets for Kadri, considering that 20-goal, 50-point guys aren’t the hardest to find.
But if Toronto makes Kadri available, and if Benning thinks he’s a player who can help them win now, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Canucks tried to trade for him. Hey, we’ve seen crazier things have taken place