Nazem Kadri signed a new six-year contract with the Maple Leafs on Wednesday and spoke with media following the announcement via conference call. Here's what he had to say...
How do you think you've fared during your time in Toronto and what do you see in your future?
There's been some growing pains but, at the same time, for a young player to play in a market like Toronto is definitely a great opportunity. I think this is the only place to play for me. It's where my heart is. It's all I've ever known. Like I said, there's going to be growing pains in the future but, at the end of the day, if you continue to get better, that's what's important.
Can you describe what Mike Babcock is talking about when he talks about your commitment off the ice?
Anything that comes with not playing hockey. In the city of Toronto we understand that the microscope is always on you. There's a spotlight and you have to act like a professional. Not only are representing your family and yourself, you're also representing your organization. I think my professionalism has come a long way in the last couple of years and I think it's only going to get better.
Why did you sign a long-term deal so close to unrestricted free agency?
Like I said, Toronto has been home for me, Toronto is where my heart is. The Maple Leaf logo is all I've ever known and it's all I've ever wanted to play for. For them to show this kind of commitment towards me meant a lot and just everything that comes along with it -- being close to my family, I love the fans, I love the city and I couldn't be more happy to spend the next six years here.
What does today feel like after all you've been through to get to this point?
Definitely an accomplishment. I think I've worked hard to achieve this goal and it means a lot to be rewarded for that. I think today is a special day for both me and Morgan and the entire Maple Leaf organization. Like I said, I think together, with the staff we have and the guidance we have, we can really make the jump in the right direction.
During some of the tough points, did you think this would come?
I think you've always got to be optimistic. In that time it was hard to think of something like this happening. It could have went one of two ways and I just kept trying to be positive and at the end of the day it worked out.
What is it about Mike Babcock that makes you believe it's headed in the right direction?
I think his resume speaks volumes. He obviously knows what he's doing, he's been around the game for a long time, he knows his players and he cares about not only you as a player, but you as a person. I think with all of those attributes, that makes a great coach. Like I said, with his guidance and the pieces we have in place, the direction we're going in is a good one.
Anything new to report with you and Team Canada?
No, nothing new.