Leafs' Kadri says he'll skip camp 'if that's what it takes'
Forward says he doesn't want to hold out as contract talks drag
The Toronto Maple Leafs are set to open training camp next week, but Nazem Kadri may not be joining his teammates if he doesn't have a new contract in tow.
Kadri, a restricted free agent, told reporters on Wednesday he was prepared to sit out camp if he and the club can't come to terms on a new deal by then.
"If that's what it takes," the 22-year-old said. "I don't want to [hold out]. I want to be here come training camp."
On Tuesday, Leafs vice president of hockey operations Dave Poulin said he felt the team had presented what was "a very fair offer," but Kadri said he desired the same thing.
"I just want something that’s fair, that’s all," the centre said Wednesday.
While Kadri denied them, multiple reports have suggested the seventh overall pick in the 2009 draft has been seeking a multi-year deal worth upwards of $5 million US per season. Reports have also suggested the Leafs are more interested in a shorter-term pact, similar to the one Montreal Canadiens blue-liner P.K. Subban signed after his contract holdout last year.
The London, Ont., native — who is coming off an entry-level deal and is not eligible for arbitration — is hoping to cash in on a career year. The forward flourished in his first full — albeit a lockout-shortened 48-game campaign — season in the NHL under head coach Randy Carlyle, scoring a career-best 18 goals and 26 assists.
He is not the only Leafs restricted free agent without a new contract as camp approaches, though. Defenceman Cody Franson is also without a new deal. The Leafs have just under $5 million in cap space heading into the 2013-14 season.