Toronto Maple Leafs: Analyzing the Nazem Kadri Trade

Nazem Kadri

On the day that free agents were able to sign with new teams on July 1, 2019, two teams completed a major trade. The Toronto Maple Leafs traded Nazem Kadri, and Calle Rosen plus a 2020 third-round pick to the Colorado Avalanche. In return, the Leafs received defenceman Tyson Barrie, Alexander Kerfoot, and a 2020 sixth-round pick.

Nazem Kadri Trade Analysis

While Nazem Kadri had played his entire 10-year career with the Maple Leafs, he became expendable due to his lack of emotional intelligence, especially in the playoffs. In his illustrious NHL career he has been suspended five times and fined three times. His latest antics occurred during Game 2 of the opening round of the Toronto vs Boston Bruins playoff series. He delivered a vicious hit to the head of the Bruins Jake Debrusk… and he was gone for the rest of the series.

Whether or not this was the last straw for the Maple Leafs to endure with Kadri, they decided it was time to part ways.

Kadri has some good statistics while playing in Toronto. His 161 goals, 196 assists in 561 games is nothing to ignore. He also added three goals, seven assists in 19 playoff games. Yet, the Maple Leafs had seen enough of Kadri and were able to obtain an excellent puck-moving defenceman in Barrie. Barrie had played his entire eight-year with the Av’s. He had collected 75 goals, 232 assists in 484 games in the Mile-high city.

It certainly… at the time, seemed like an equitable trade. Both teams seemed to acquire valuable players and that is why you pull off a major trade.

Upon Further Analysis

While Kadri ranks 25th in average penalty minutes per game with his new team in Colorado, he still receives an average of 1.46 minutes in the box per game. He hasn’t lost control yet, relative to his past indiscretions.

What he has done is contribute. He has 10 goals and 10 assists in 26 games. He has helped the Avalanche in the absence of Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen, two stars that have lost time to injuries this year. His three goals and two assists in his last five games indicate his offensive capabilities. Playing alongside Nathan MacKinnon hasn’t hurt his statistics a bit. He’s been involved with him on seven scoring plays out of his 20 points.

Tyson Barrie hasn’t performed to expectations for the Maple Leafs this season. He has collected just three goals, nine assists in the 28 games he’s made an appearance in for the 2019-20 season. That’s well below his average points per game from the previous two seasons in Toronto. He had 0.29 points and 0.26 points per game during that span. This season, he is a dismal 0.14 point per game.

Who is Expendable?

Barrie has picked up his scoring in his last five games tallying three goals and two assists. Still, on an offensive dynamo team like the Maple Leafs will his scoring be any better than that? A better analysis would be can the Toronto club afford his $5.5 million cap hit when they have other unrestricted free agents in Cody Ceci ($4.5M), and Jake Muzzin ($4M) both needing new contracts?

Something’s got to give. Either Muzzin, Ceci, or Barrie may be on the trading block by season’s end or even earlier at the trade deadline. Could Barrie be on the move? There are rumours swirling around with speculation that multiple teams have inquired about the talented defenceman. He seems to not be the player that the Maple Leafs expected him to be, and that means he could be expendable. His recent successful play may save him for now.

Other Players in the Trade

It must be mentioned that Rosen and Kerfoot were also participants in the trade. Let’s examine what they have done since the trade happened. Rosen has only played three games with the Colorado club. He is currently playing in the AHL. The 25-year-old Swedish defenceman has only appeared in 11 NHL games with one goal and two assists to his credit. Kerfoot, a centre has only five goals, three assists in 23 games for Toronto. He is not performing to his last season stats where he had 15 goals, 27 assists in 78 games.

These two players were likely added in to make the trade work financially for both teams. They don’t seem to sway whether one team or the other won the trade.

Final Analysis

When all is said and done, it appears that the Avalanche have come out on top for this trade. Kadri is doing very well, and as long as he continues to behave himself and concentrate on playing hockey, he will be a valuable asset for the Avalanche.

On the other hand, Barrie’s days in Toronto may be numbered. Perhaps the Leafs should have targeted a more defensive-minded defender than Barrie. It would be fine if he was contributing more to the offence, but he just isn’t. On a team like the Maple Leafs, they have so many offensive weapons and Barrie seems lost in the shuffle.

So, unless Barrie just lights up things in the next couple months, expect the trade winds to continue to follow him around.

As far as Kadri is concerned, he seems to have fit in very well with the Avalanche’s offence. With his reputation of being a tough guy perhaps it would be best if he had opposing players fear him more than they need to just to give him an advantage. He already has some good possession numbers this season showing a 51.7 Corsi For and a 3.5 Relative Corsi.

It seems that Kadri’s stock is going up (at least for now) while Barrie’s is on the downward trend. If the Leafs are smart they should see what return they can get for Barrie while the getting is good.

TAMPA, FL – OCTOBER 19: Nazem Kadri #91 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period at the Amalie Arena on October 19, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

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