Toronto Maple Leafs’ Nazem Kadri has reached the 30 goal mark for the first time in his career and in the process has made his $4.5 million contract look like a bargain.
The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs had two 30 goal scorers was in the 2013-2014 season. That year, Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk scored 37 and 30 goals respectively. This year, the Leafs also have two players with at least 30 goals, Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri. According to Sportsnet Stats, this is another record that the Leafs have hit this season.
Kadri has been a pleasant surprise in his first year of his new contract. Scoring goals was a lot more difficult for the former first round pick last season when he was shooting at 6.5 percent. It doesn’t seem to be a problem this time around as his shooting percentage is now at 14.2 percent. When asked about reaching 30 goals during his post-game scrum, Kadri said:
"It feels good for sure, I definitely don’t want to stop there. I want to continue to grow as a player and a lot of hard work has gone into that…"
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In a year where #Kadri4Selke has become prominent all over Twitter, Kadri has been able to shine in his role as the Leafs’ shut down centre. His deal will soon look like one of the better contracts around the league if he can push his goal total even higher.
There are currently 15 players in the NHL who have scored 30 goals or more. Some of these players include Evgeni Malkin, Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane. However, they make significantly more money than Kadri does for nearly the same production. Fortunately, they have the benefit of being superstars and/or Stanley Cup winners.
Looking at players who make more than Kadri, but produce less, makes his contract fun to look at. Ryan O’Reilly, despite being on a poor Buffalo team, has scored 17 goals and makes $7.5 million per season. Ouch. Corey Perry has scored only 14 goals and makes $8.625 million even. Yikes.
There are 10 games left in the season and Leaf fans should expect Kadri to continue his impactful play to the end. As much as the number 30 looks good next to your name on the scoresheet, “Stanley Cup Playoffs”, on the ice at the Air Canada Centre will look even better.