2014 NHL Offseason: Should The Dallas Stars Pursue Nazem Kadri?
Nazem Kadri is pretty good. He would look pretty good as the Stars second line center.
I have in-laws who speak Italian. I do not speak Italian. If I enter a room and they begin speaking Italian I will stare blankly until the next phrase I can understand is uttered.
I feel the same when trying to figure out what the Toronto Maple Leafs mean when they are talking about Nazem Kadri. They seemingly hate Kadri to the very core of his soul, but it doesn't really make any sense. You can't really help but stare blankly in the abyss when the Leafs talk about him.
The Dallas Stars would have to be interested in Kadri should the Leafs wish to move him. The way they talk about him makes it pretty apparent he can be had.
In December, Randy Carlyle threatened to demote Kadri to the fhird line behind Peter Holland.
A Randy Carlyle statement from January:
"We think Kadri, Lupul and Clarkson has been a real strong force for us for the last while and there's no reason to change that," Carlyle said. "I think they should be challenging (the Bozak line) for offensive minutes.
Also in January, Dave Nonis basically told the world Kadri is available for trade. Via theleafsnation:
"I think it's easy to say that Kadri is struggling but he's having a decent year. It's not like he's not putting up points. Last year he was producing against other teams' 2nd and 3rd lines. This year he is playing against better players … Kadri and (Jake) Gardiner's names are brought up quite a bit, so is (Morgan) Rielly's. We'd be willing to trade Kadri. There's a difference between willing to and trying to. If the right deal comes up we would do it."
The comments aren't the full of piss and vinegar, but they're definitely unnecessary. There's no reason to waste time trying to understand why the Leafs management wants it known that Kadri can be had, but we can spend some time seeing what type of player he is at this point in his career.
In short, he's the type of player the Stars would welcome with open arms into their top six forwards. Kadri has 113 points in 177 career games, including 94 in his last 126. He is a career 13.5% shooter. The last three years he's shooting at 15.2%. The guy is a very talented offensive player with speed playing in a "system" meant to crush the life out of him.
That system makes it difficult to fully see what type of offensive talent he has. We can see the scoring ability, but the Maple Leafs' complete disregard for wanting the puck makes his ability to possess the puck somewhat difficult to identify. However, he was the Leafs' best forward in terms of Corsi relative to his teammates. The team and system might have stunk, but he was able to make the best of it.
The best thing that can definitively be said about Kadri is that he made everyone around him better. Everyone who spent significant amounts of ice time playing with Kadri saw a spike in their possession numbers except Tim Gleason. Even the Leafs system can't hide the positive impact he made.
Toronto didn't make any major efforts to protect him either. They did give him the most favorable zone starts of all of their forwards, but he wasn't ridiculously shielded from top competition. The Stars would need to change how they do things up a bit to work Kadri into their mix.
The Tyler Seguin unit generally faced top competition with favorable zone starts. The Stars would either need to give Kadri more responsibility by making him start in his own end more often, or take away some of the favorable ice position that the Seguin line enjoys. The solidifying of a second scoring line would make the impact of either change pretty small either way.
Making it actually happen should cost the Stars a decent package. It's hard to imagine the Stars not being asked to move the 14th overall pick in the draft as part of the deal, but given Kadri's age that's fine. The Stars enviable depth at most positions make a deal seem plausible. Given the team in question, Alex Chiasson would seem to be a fit for the Leafs too.
If the Stars did acquire Kadri they would have Seguin, Kadri, and Cody Eakin down the middle. This would seemingly make the Stars more comfortable moving from their group of young centers that includes Jason Dickinson, Devin Shore, and Radek Faksa.
Another detail to consider is the potential availability of Dion Phaneuf. The Stars are in the market for a top four defenseman. Is it possible for the Stars to come away with both Phaneuf and Kadri without gutting their roster or farm system? Depending on how much salary the Stars are willing to take on from Phaneuf the odds of that being possible increase.
As far as Kadri goes, I couldn't tell you why Toronto is so eager to move him, but I am confident he would be a big addition to the roster. He seems attainable given the strength of the Stars system.
With the draft a little over a week away could we see the Stars kick the tires on the talented young center?