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Maple Leafs sign Kadri to two-year deal

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TORONTO — Nazem Kadri will be at Toronto Maple Leafs training camp after all.

Kadri signed a two-year, US$5.8-million deal on the eve of the start of camp, ending contentious contract talks between the restricted free agent centre and the team.

"Happy to be with the leafs for the next couple years, looking forward to camp," said Kadri from his verified Twitter account adding the hashtags "leafnation bestnation."

Kadri enjoyed a stellar 2013, putting up 18 goals and 26 assists in 48 games during his first full — though lockou-shortened —NHL season.

The 22-year-old seemed to think that production was enough to earn a long-term contract from the Maple Leafs. Instead, Kadri and Toronto agreed to a so-called "bridge" deal that gives him another two years to prove his value.

"Congrats to @43_Kadri on the new contract," Maple Leafs enforcer Frazer McLaren tweeted. "Thanks for dinner."

Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban missed the start of last season while trying to get a longer deal but eventually settled for two years and $5.75 million. Subban won the Norris Trophy as a 24-year-old.

Kadri’s cap hit of $2.9 million will be higher than Subban’s $2.875 million.

In 99 career games, Kadri has 26 goals and 37 assists. He was the No. 7 pick of the Maple Leafs in the 2009 draft after playing for the London Knights and Kitchener Rangers of the OHL.

Signing Kadri leaves one major question for the Maple Leafs: the status of restricted-free-agent defenceman Cody Franson, who remained unsigned as of Tuesday night. The 26-year-old Franson enjoyed a career year in 2013 with four goals and 25 assists.

The Maple Leafs have roughly $2 million under the salary cap. Training camp begins Wednesday morning.

— The Canadian Press

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