We’ve all heard the story multiple times; it’s extremely difficult to trade a star player in NHL. What’s slowy becoming more obvious, though, is that it’s not just star players that are hard to trade. Rather it’s all players and Nazem Kadri, who has been talked about quite a bit recently at Maple Leafs Central, is a perfect example of this.
Kadri, once a first round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, has become somewhat of an afterthought in Toronto. We all half-expect Kadri to make the Leafs’ roster out of training camp each fall, but it seems to become less and less likely every year. Perhaps that’s why a Twitter follower of mine suggested he should be traded for one of the Leafs’ most pressing needs.
While a top-tier prospect is something I nor many others believe to be something the Leafs shouold be going after at the moment, a first line centre, number one goaltender and top-four defenceman are all positions the Leafs should be and likely are attempting to address.
Here’s the issue: Trading Kadri for another prospect makes little to no sense given that the team’s goal is to succeed this season rather than focus on rebuilding for the future. Also, moving Kadri for a seasoned veteran isn’t in the team’s best interest either.
Given those two limitations, what are the Leafs’ options in a potential Kadri trade now? We’ll start off with the top line centre hole, one that hasn’t been filled since the departure of Mats Sundin some four years ago.
Various names rumoured to be on their way to Toronto include Ryan Getzlaf, Eric Staal and, at one point, even Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators. None of them seem to be available at the moment, leaving the Leafs with much less talented trade options at the centre position.
Then there is the back-end, which was very inconsistent in 2011-2012. Rumours have the likes of Jay Bouwmeester, Fedor Tyutin and Keith Yandle headed to the Maple Leafs. While the latter two may be available for trade, it would take quite the offer to pry them away from their respective teams. Yandle, meanwhile, doesn’t appear to be going anywhere before training camp opens, whenever that may be.
Finally there is goaltending. Perhaps the only name expected to be moved is Robert Luongo, but no one can entirely confirm that either.
Other netminders rumoured to be on the market: Jonas Hiller of the Anaheim Ducks, Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins, Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames, Cam Ward of the Carolina Hurricanes and Jonathan Bernier of the Los Angeles Kings. The issue here, though, is that four of those five goalies (Bernier being the lone exception) are considered to be the cornerstone of their franchise.
As one can easily see, the options for actually moving a player like Nazem Kadri are very limited.
Now consider the fact that GM Brian Burke would have to muster up some sort of package deal that would likely include one or more of Mikhail Grabovski, Clarke MacArthur and Nikolai Kulemin, and you’ve got yourself a rather tough deal to swing.
That’s just with a prospect. Imagine trying to move a star player like Rick Nash and you can see how difficult it must be to move anyone in today’s National Hockey League.
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Lukas is the Managing Editor of Maple Leafs Central. Follow him on Twitter, @LukasHardonk.