In case you missed it, Nazem Kadri signed a two-year bridge deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs last night worth $2.9 million per season. Kadri has just 99 NHL games played –only one full season– and has a line of 23-37-63 over those 99 games. In his only full season, the lockout shortened season, Kadri put up 18-26-44. That 18-26-44 should look familiar, since it is the same line Derek Stepan put up last season. That should mean that Stepan’s market value is $2.9 million, right? Well, not exactly.
The problem is that Kadri has just one full year under his belt. He was bouncing between the AHL and NHL for the first two years of his pro career before that. Stepan cracked the roster immediately, and has three full years (without missing a game) under his belt. The point total for this year may have been the same, but Stepan has 212 NHL games played and a line of 56-84-140. That is an average of 0.66 P/G (1.91 P/60). Kadri’s average was 0.63 P/G (2.35 P/60).
Just an aside: I don’t know where I can find career –or even three-year average– P/60, which is the stat I wanted to use here. P/G isn’t terrible, but P/60 is a more accurate reflection. However, the point is still made. (Thanks George)
After Kadri’s deal was announced, many jumped the gun and said Stepan should sign for that exact amount. However Stepan’s value is considerably higher on paper. Factor in that many believe Stepan is the better player, and all of a sudden $2.9 million is a low-ball offer. Early in the offseason, I valued Stepan at $3.75 million per season on a bridge deal, using Claude Giroux’s bridge deal as market value. Even at that number, the Rangers won’t need to deal anyone to stay under the cap, despite what others may say.
If anything the Kadri deal has reinforced that Stepan is worth more than $3 million per season. Stepan is more seasoned, more important to his club, and is currently the better player on paper and on the ice. Kadri’s $2.9 million just shows that a Stepan deal will likely be north of $3 million per season.