Nazem Kadri agrees to 2-year deal with Maple Leafs, because what else could he do?

If Nazem Kadri was looking for a long-term contract extension, he wasn’t going to get it.

If he was looking for a huge money bridge contract, he wasn’t going to get it.

The Toronto Maple Leafs had the restricted free agent by the Timbits; it was just going to be a matter of when he bent to their will.

Turns out it was Tuesday: Kadri and the Leafs agreed to a 2-year contract, assuring that that the talented center will be in camp after his breakout 2013 season. Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet had the scoop. Bob McKenzie of TSN followed with the financials: $2.9 million per season.

That’s slightly more than what Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban received after his contract squabble last season, signing for $2.875 million and obviously setting the market for Kadri – despite having a more substantial work history than Kadri’s cups of coffee and lockout-shortened star season (44 points in 48 games).

For Kadri, it was best to settle this thing before he ended up missing significant time or getting vilified by media and fans for delaying the inevitable.

For GM Dave Nonis, getting Kadri in for under $3 million before camp is impressive. Now comes the heavy lifting: Figuring out how to pay defenseman Cody Franson with the Leafs’ remaining cap space, and/or making the necessary moves to create more.