Kadri agrees to new terms with Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs were able to avoid one major distraction before they open training camp this week.
Late Tuesday evening, the Leafs announced they had reached an agreement with forward Nazem Kadri. This is after the 22-year old centreman signed a two-year “bridge” contract after reportedly asking for a long-term deal.
Unfortunately for both the Leafs and Kadri, the way he acted in the media over the off-season and particularly the last two weeks, is a bit worrisome.
He whined and cried when TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported he was seeking a multi-year contract with an average salary of $5.5 million while the Leafs were looking for that bridge contract, which is what they got — much like the Montreal Canadiens and P.K. Subban last season.
Kadri even tweeted “false Bobo” at McKenzie on Twitter when he reported those figures. The next day, he stated that he wasn’t being unfair nor selfish and that people didn’t know the truth. He just wanted something that was fair.
The problem with Kadri is that one good season shouldn’t allow him to ask for a ridiculous contract. He has no arbitration rights because he just finished his entry-level deal in June, making him a restricted free agent.
He is being selfish for thinking he should be handed a giant raise from the Leafs because of one decent season. The Leafs have just under $5 million in cap space for Kadri and Cody Franson, who is also a restricted free agent and at an impasse.
Kadri has a major ego and that was there before he was even in the National Hockey League, but the way he handled himself in the last couple of weeks didn’t show a guy that wanted to be a team-player.
He played well in stretches last season and hopefully that will continue into this season. More so, hopefully he checks the ego before hitting the ice because that will only hurt him and his teammates.
Thomas wants starting role
Another report that came out of the hockey world on Tuesday was that two-time Vezina Trophy winner, Tim Thomas was offered a tryout by the Florida Panthers.
Thomas’ agent, Markus Lehto told TSN that Thomas wants to be a starting goaltender, not a backup.
However, the Panthers have Jacob Markstrom, who looks to be a good up-and-coming goaltender, to be their projected starter this season. Scott Clemmensen could be the backup, but Markstrom will be out at least three weeks after having minor surgery on his knee.
Thomas is 39 years old and hasn’t played hockey in over a year after sitting out last season. If he thinks he should be handed a starting role with an NHL team, he could actually be delusional.
Fortunately since training camps open this week and Thomas is supposed to make his decision by Wednesday (Sept. 11), most clubs already have their goaltending situation settled or decided upon.
It doesn’t appear like any team or general manager wants to deal with the controversy-creating veteran. Since the Flyers went out and got Ray Emery and Steve Mason, even Philadelphia doesn’t seem to be an option for Thomas.
Taking a year off could have been a bad idea for Thomas, but his situation is what it is now. Maybe he should just head back to his bunker and create his vision for utopia in the U.S. because I don’t see any teams lining up for his services.
Kiprusoff announces retirement
The Calgary Flames announced on Monday that goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff was retiring from the league. This wasn’t much of a surprise as Kiprusoff was vocal about that last season after the Flames tried to find if any other teams were interested at the trade deadline.
He stated at that time that he would not report to any team if he were dealt.
The timing is nice for the veteran goaltender who spent the last decade with the Flames and led them to the teams’ 2004 Stanley Cup final.
The Finland native took the summer to make sure he was “100 per cent sure” about retiring from the league.
Kiprusoff holds the team records for wins (305), games played (576) and shutouts (41).
Hopefully the Flames will do something special for the classy goaltender this season to commemorate his 12 years in the league. His number shouldn’t be retired by any means, but the organization should salute “Kipper” for all he did for the team and city of Calgary.
A game night in his honour his accomplishments would be a nice touch. No details have been released about what the Flames plan to do for Kiprusoff.
It is the exciting time of the year that another hockey season approaches where every team stands on even ground. However, it will interesting to see how teams will divide and conquer the new divisions the NHL has set up for this season.