From Beauchemin to Stalberg, we're taking a look at and grading (please read the criteria below) the 2009-10 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Maple Leafs for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2010-11. That means only guys that are still property of the Maple Leafs. We're doing this in concert with Maple Leafs Hot Stove. Next up, Nazem Kadri.
#43 / Center / Toronto Maple Leafs
Oct 6, 1990
Years in NHL: 0
Became a Leaf: Snatched from the spittle covered claws of Bryan Murray.
|2009 - Nazem Kadri||0||0||0||-1||0|
This is the kid we wanted. Nazem Kadri is a talented prospect with slick hands and a flair for dramatic moves that have completely embarassed defenders in the OHL.
He played one game in the NHL this year as an emergency recall against the San Jose Sharks where he was a minus one and didn't record a shot on net. Kadri represents our hopes as Leafs fans but it's important to temper your expectations: Kadri isn't the next Crosby and has a lot of work to do as a player and an athlete before he's ready to be our first line center.
Generously listed at 175 pounds the first obvious work Kadri has to do is putting on muscle. In the OHL he's a slick enough player to literally dance through defenders but that's not going to fly in the NHL.
Kadri also needs to adjust to the pro game in that he'll be surrounded by better players than he plays with in juniors. Actually on second thought maybe not... but Kadri will need to use his teammates more instead of trying to do it all himself. If he can land a job on the first line he's going to be playing with a pure shooter in Phil Kessel.
Kadri was third in the OHL in points per game behind only Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall. Kadri scored 35 goals and 58 assists for the Gilmour (93 pts) in only 56 games. Oh mama.
I have hope for Kadri's development. In his one game emergency recall against the San Jose Sharks Kadri's zone shift reveals he started a ridiculous 66% of his shifts in the offensive zone. Ron Wilson and the rest of the Leafs management know he's still raw. Brian Burke left Bobby Ryan in the AHL to hone his game and saw great results from letting Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf play in the AHL.
This is what Kadri needs.
A reminder that Kadri is a prospect and any knocks on his game right now are things he can work on. We shouldn't be overly harsh on a prospect whose game is still developing.
Kadri overcarries the puck and seems to let his emotions run wild (see his throat slash gesture at the World Juniors). Though enormously entertaining a team can't succeed if its first liners are in the penalty box for losing their cool. Kadri will absolutely need to get that under control.
Look at how bad he undressed the Penguins last pre-season:
Sucks to be that goalie, huh?
Why don't you own a Kadri jersey already?
Rate Kadri below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.