Dreger shares Eastern Conference executive’s theory on Leafs

A rival team’s executive wonders about the possibility of the Leafs opting to deal Nazem Kadri over some of the more popular names mentioned in trade speculation.

During a Friday morning First Up radio hit on Toronto’s TSN 1050, Darren Dreger had been asked about how the Jake Gardiner situation might play out with the Leafs.

The defenseman will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season and the Leafs would be hard-pressed to offer what Gardiner could net on the open market.

Near the end of the conversation, Dreger offered something a little different.  

“Now, do you guys want some clickbait to end the week?” asked Dreger. “So I’m in Winnipeg and another team, an Eastern Conference team - it doesn’t matter, I don’t have to disclose the identity - but it was just a theory, an idea thrown at me. This exec said to me, ‘You guys spend all this time in Toronto talking about trading Nylander, could Kasperi Kapanen be the guy they move.’ He said, ‘What about Kadri?’ Why does it have to be Nylander or Kapanen that gets traded because of the salary crunch at the end of the year.’

“There are teams around the National Hockey League that look at the Toronto Maple Leafs the same way we do and realize of course that something is going to have to give here. If everybody gets the piece of the pie that they’re comfortable with, somebody is leaving. It’s just financial common sense. But does it have to be Nylander. Does it have to be Kapanen.

“Maybe you get a sweeter deal, a better deal, for Kadri.”

Kadri is in the third season of a six-year, $27 million contract, which only carries a $4.5 million cap hit.

Kadri has a modified no-trade clause that kicked in this season, through which he can submit a 10-team no-trade list..

Contract-related info via CapFriendly