Nazem Kadri is learning he’s not worth quite as much to the Maple Leafs as he thinks he is. (Icon SMI)
By Allan Muir
Everyone wants the upper hand in life, but as Jerry Seinfeld keenly observed, hand is tough to get.
And even when you believe you’ve got it, you probably don’t have nearly as much as you think.
If Nazem Kadri hasn’t digested that mind vitamin just yet, he will very soon. So will Jared Cowen, Cody Hodgson, Marcus Johansson, Cody Franson and the rest of this year’s crop of high profile restricted free agents.
These players may be on the verge of NHL stardom, but their hopes of cashing in big on their second contracts are quickly fading. With training camps starting next week and their talks at a standstill, their unwillingness to recognize when they’re beaten puts their start to the 2013-14 season in jeopardy.
The key here is timing. And unfortunately for these players, theirs is lousy.
The diminished salary cap hurts the pool of cash that teams are drawing from, and each new signing leaves an even smaller pile. There’s no club that’s willing to risk the draft picks and blowback that come with tendering an offer sheet. And the start of camp puts the RFAs and their demands on the back burner and allows other players a chance to step up and fill whatever holes their absences create.
It’s a miserably perfect salary-depressing storm.