Lebanese-Canadian ice hockey star Nazem Kadri signed a new contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs just in time for training camp. Kadri signed a two-year, $5.8 million deal on the eve of the start of camp, ending contentious contract talks between the restricted free agent center and the team. â€œHappy to be with the leafs for the next couple years, looking forward to camp,â€ said Kadri on Twitter. He is also somewhat of a hometown kid, hailing from nearby London, Ontario.
The 22-year-old Kadri had a break-through season in 2013, scoring 18 goals and 26 assists in 48 games as a part of his first full NHL season. He had previously been in danger of being a disappointment after being selected by Toronto with the 7th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft. In 99 career NHL games, Kadri has amassed 26 goals and 37 assists. His 2013 contract will carry a salary cap hit of $2.9 million.
Kadri, for his part, welcomes the new-found responsibility that becomes with being a top-line centerman, and with being a highly-paid player. â€œWe have depth and no matter where guys get slotted weâ€™re going to be able to get results, but being the No. 1 center is something I have wanted from Day 1,â€ Kadri told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. â€œSince I started playing hockey I have always wanted to be a go-to guy for an NHL team. Hopefully Iâ€™m on my way.â€