There are two basic ways for teams to reconfigure their rosters during the NHL offseason. The first is the time-honored tradition of overcompensating veteran players through unrestricted free agency while refusing — through a gentlemen’s agreement among general managers or outright fear of repercussions — to dabble in restricted free agency for younger talent via offer sheets.
The other way is through the trade market.
In theory, a combination of both is the right recipe. Look no further than the Stanley Cup champions. The St. Louis Blues signed Tyler Bozak, David Perron and Patrick Maroon to free-agent deals prior to last season, and then they swung for the fences with a multiplayer deal for Ryan O’Reilly, whom you may remember from winning the Conn Smythe Trophy. (We don’t speak about that Chad Johnson signing from last summer. Hey, they can’t all be home runs.)
Note: Players are sorted alphabetically within each tier.
Stats: 16 G | 28 A | 31 Pts | 44 games
Contract: $4.5 million AAV (average annual value) through 2022; submits 10-team trade list
Kadri isn’t that far removed from back-to-back 30-goal seasons, which puts him in rarefied company for a 200-foot center. There are teams that are going to covet that, and there’s no question they’ll sense an opportunity this summer because the Leafs are facing cap headaches and because Kadri can’t stop getting himself suspended in first-round playoff series against the Bruins. Toronto is probably a better team with him as their third-line center, but if a chance to improve the blue line arises, could they consider it?