Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis joined TSN Radio 1050 Thursday afternoon to talk about nothing other than his hockey team. The range of topics included Dave Bolland, David Clarkson, Nazem Kadri, goaltending, and his impressions of the team so far.
On Nazem Kadri, his performance with the team and his future:
Well I think it's easy to say, but Naz is having a decent year. What has happened to him is last year he was playing in the two or three hole most season, by doing that he was playing against team's second or third lines primarily. This year because of injury we put Naz in a situation that was difficult for him. He's still a young guy, there's no denying his skill-set and ability. We're not disappointed with him, he's a very skilled player and we need him to perform down the stretch.
There's a lot of interest in Nazem Kadri and would we be willing to trade him? Yes we'd be willing to trade him but there's a big difference between willing to and trying to. We're not trying to move him. I would expect the panel [on TSN] is wrong. I'm not anywhere near trading Nazem Kadri.
On David Clarkson's season so far and the progress of injured forward Dave Bolland:
" [Clarkson's] gotta try and be himself and not try to be someone else. He's done the things we want him to do; he finishes all his checks, he shoots the puck, he's starting to realize that's what we want him to do."
"I'd like [Bolland] back tomorrow if we could. In terms of a timeline he has started skating it has really been slow because it's a fairly significant injury. If you watch him now you say 'well he's not going to play for a long time.' But I also think that could come very quickly. That's what we're hoping for. I can tell you it's not from a lack of effort."
Nonis also took the time to give Maple Leafs fans an increased heart rate as he mentioned all three of their most promising players have been asked about in trade talks. "I think because of the media in this town it's like broadcasting his availably. His name is brought up quite a bit as well as Jake Gardiner, Morgan Rielly. They always want your good young players."
As well as being ravaged by injury -- suspension wasn't brought up -- Nonis mentioned his opinion of the team going into the second half of the season.
"I think we have a quality team I still don't think we've played anywhere near to our potential. I'd like to see us get healthy, get the lines where the coaching staff wants them and see where we are. No question in my mind we're a better team than we've played this year. I think there's a lot of reasons for [underachievement]."
"We haven't had our group together for one game this year. Once we do I hope our identity is a very hard working team. We have a lot of skill. I think we've seen them perform at a high level. That's an area we have to focus on; getting our compete level up."
And of course, it wouldn't be an interview with the Maple Leafs general manager without discussion the goaltending controversy and his plans going forward.
"James has played some pretty good hockey for us this year, Bernie has carried the ball a little more often. Would we trade James Reimer? Yes, if the deal was better for the organization."
"I think partly it will depend on where we are as an organization. We'll still look long-term. We won't trade young players for rentals. Is our first-round pick in play to add a player that won't be with us very long? Definitely not."
You can listen to the complete interview here.