The Toronto Maple Leafs have made two major commitments to two players just one year into their rebuilding phase. It's a very long-term commitment and there has already been mixed reactions from the fan base, albeit the majority has been positive.
The Maple Leafs have locked up both forward Nazem Kadri, undoubtedly the teams best forward this season, and defenseman Morgan Rielly, a player many expect to grow into a top pairing defenseman, for the next six years with new contracts.
Kadri's deal will pay him, on average, $4.5 million per season under his new deal, while Rielly will earn $5 million, on average, per season with his new contract. While both deals are well within reason, the Maple Leafs also committed to limited no-trade clauses which does give them limited flexibility should they determine either player no longer fits with the direction of the team.
TSN insider Darren Dreger stated yesterday that a 5-6 year deal somewhere in the neighborhood of $4.5-$5.5 million would be market value for Rielly, so it seems the Leafs did a good job of getting a solid deal done on that front. Meanwhile Sportsnet insider Chris Johnston believes that Kadri's unusually low shooting percentage this season impacted his goal total, and should bounce back in coming seasons, giving the Leafs even more value of his deal.
Nazem Kadri had an extremely low shooting% this season, which tends to be cyclical. He would have scored 27 goals with his career average.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) April 13, 2016