I'll be honest, I enjoy reading rumor sites.
Not because I take them seriously or put any stock in these rumors, rather I enjoy tossing around ideas in my head of how teams would look if these supposed deals were to actually happen.
I'm a subscriber to The Hockey News, and in doing so I get their morning newsletter in my inbox. The December 14th rumor roundup had Lyle Richardson linking a story by Ottawa's Bruce Garrioch (I know, I know...). The proposed deal would see Derick Brassard dealt to the Maple Leafs for Nazem Kadri.
I've used this space before to discuss a trade involving Brassard. After sitting in the pressbox for a better part of a month, Brassard has been back in the Columbus lineup recently, and from my vantage point he's been playing well. The points aren't there, but he doesn't seem to be making mistakes and has been given powerplay time, occasionally with Rick Nash and Jeff Carter on the top unit. That said, I believe the coaching staff still still feels the same way about Brassard, but perhaps this time around they were given a directive to put him in the lineup for the purpose of showcasing him. I feel inclined to mention that this is personal speculation on my part.
The Jackets are not going to make the playoffs this season, so a deal that sends Brassard and his 3-plus million per season contract to another team makes sense, especially if the coaches have lost faith in him.
These thoughts are why I wanted to take a Garrioch rumor and expand on it. Again, not because I am a rumor monger, but because I can see some logic to a Brassard for Kadri trade. The Leafs can use a player with Brassard's experience and skill set. The Jackets could use the cap relief, and would gain a skilled young player in return. Kadri has only played three games for the Leafs this season, with one assist. He's played a bulk of the season with Toronto's AHL affiliate, the Marlies, putting up 8-14-22 in 19 games. If Kadri joined the Jackets, he could continue to develop in Springfield, and be ready next season for the final year of his entry-level contract, where he would be expected to become a full-time Jacket. If it doesn't work out, the Jackets can decline to offer him a new contract and he'd become a free agent. On the other hand, if he performs well the Jackets can elect to sign him to a new deal, on their terms.
It's hard to say where Kadri would fit in, but with the potential departures of Samuel Pahlsson and Kristian Huselius after this season, and Vinny Prospal and Maksim Mayorov needing new contracts, an influx of skill may be required in the organization. I think it's obvious that Prospal should be brought back, but if the team loses Huselius, and if Mayorov decides that the KHL is a better option, Kadri makes sense.
You saw this coming, here's a potential lineup next year:
Prospal - Carter - Nash
Kadri - Johansen - Umberger
Letestu - Vermette - Dorsett
Calvert / Atkinson / Kubalik - MacKenzie - Boll
Kadri has a similar skill set to Huselius, so there's a logical fit there. The issue though, as the Maple Leafs have noticed, is that Kadri is a player who needs to be on a scoring line. You can't throw him on the checking unit, and he'd almost be wasted on the fourth line. If under this, or a similar scenario he doesn't do well, the Jackets can simply not re-sign him.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on a Brassard for Kadri deal.