It's not only New York Islanders fans talking about Nazem Kadri in the middle of summer.
On Wednesday's Steve Dangle Podcast with Adam Wylde and Jesse Blake, the hosts talk about the likelihood that Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello has secretly signed Kadri and is waiting to clear cap space to make the deal official. Wyle references Thomas Drance, beat writer for The Athletic stating that he believes a deal is "in the drawer" and the reason why the Islanders and Canucks have not (as of yet) re-engaged on trade talks involving JT Miller.
"That's ugly to play," and "That's playoff-style hockey" was the reaction to the possibility of the Islanders playing Kadri, Mathew Barzal, and JG Pageau down the middle at center, neglecting to mention 37-goal scorer Brock Nelson.
New York Islanders: The Steve Dangle Podcast talks Nazem Kadri
Dangle spoke about the history of Kadri in Toronto and how Lamoriello doesn't get enough credit for his eventual success with the Maple Leafs. Kadri's early seasons were marred by poor decisions and inconsistent play. He was even suspended by Brendan Shanahan because of behavioral concerns which resulted in a meeting that included his parents being in attendance.
"Lou used a firm hand with Naz but clearly believed in him enough to give him many many millions of dollars...turned him into a real successful player. I can see him doing it again."- Steve Dangle
When Lamoriello took over, he believed in Kadri and told the player as much. He was looking for building blocks to turn the team's culture and fortunes around and identified Kadri as an essential piece in doing so. Lamoriello would eventually reward Kadri with a long-term six-year extension as a successful 2015-16. Kadri responded with back-to-back 32-goal seasons.
Dangle believes the contract will come in at six years at a new $7M AAV with some (legal) front-loading and bonuses. He added that if the trajectory of the salary cap were headed where it was a few seasons ago, he would be getting a longer-term deal for more money.
"You aren't picking him as your No. 1 center over a number of guys in the league, more than a dozen, said Dangle. "Is he one of the better first line centers in the league? No. Would he be one of the better second line centers in the league? Certainly."- Steve Dangle
The Islanders already have one of the better second-line centers in the league in Nelson which makes the dynamics of a Kadri signing that much more intriguing and complex. As beat writer Ethan Sears wrote in the New York Post, the signing is hardly a perfect fit, leaving tough decisions and moves left to make.
Sears writes that if a deal would come to pass "Jean-Gabriel Pageau would make sense on paper as a trade chip, because dealing him would solve the logjam at center while clearing $5 million. Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and Kadri as the team’s top three centers would be formidable. But such things are never that easy."