Kadri Scores, Winner’s Galore
Nazem Kadri, Toronto’s most highly touted prospect, represents the hope of Tomorrow’s Maple Leafs. Drafted seventh overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Kadri spent his first year in the Maple Leafs system as a London Knight. Rather than making the jump to the big team, Kadri was demoted to the Marlies due to a poorly played pre-season. However, on November 12, 2010, The NHL’s fourth player of Lebanese descent began his first stint with the Leafs in the 10/11 season. While Kadri hasn’t performed like the rookie of the year in his 11 games, his youth, speed, agility, and skill has injected the Leafs with some spark.
Mired in a seven game losing streak when Kadri made the jump, the Leafs bounced back with a stronger game offensively against the Canucks after scoring just one goal in their last two games. Though the Leafs would go on to lose their eighth straight, it was the first sign of revival from a seemingly anemic November. Three days later the Leafs bounced back with their first win of the month, with a strong performance from their young center to be, who managed an assist with nearly 20 minutes of ice time.
Since then, when Kadri hops aboard the score sheet, his contributions have been like magic. As mentioned on several websites, the Maple Leafs have five wins and zero losses when Kadri registers a point. Since being immersed into the line-up, Kadri has helped the Leafs to a .500 record over their last 11 games with six assists. What’s even more impressive is that Kadri has been shifted up and down Toronto’s four lines over his 11 game tenure, but has still managed to produce.
Although Kadri’s youth and inexperience periodically surfaces as he makes the typical rookie mistakes, it’s clear that he is making the right adjustments in order to keep his composure in the NHL. Kadri’s .55 points/game puts him seventh among rookies who have played more than nine games. If Toronto can finish the season at .500 and Kadri continues to be a direct correlation to their winning ways, then his projected total of 31 points over the next 56 games is entirely plausible. But for fans of the Maple Leafs, and Kadri himself, the most important thing right now is netting that first career goal.