Nazem Kadri can be a polarizing player. Lately, though, the discussion surrounding him isn't to do with how he's taken over the lead for the Maple Leafs' leading scorer or his upcoming contract as he once again approaches RFA status. No: this time, it's about diving.
Kadri on diving accusation: "Not something nice to hear. People are going to have their opinion & that’s not going to change the way I play"— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) March 28, 2016
As Kadri notes, though: he's never once been fined or suspended for diving. He was fined earlier in the season for a throat-slashing gesture, and then had one directed towards him, but as far as the NHL is concerned, his record is clean enough. He did get an embellishment call on March 21, after Johnny Gaudreau dealt him a pretty well-placed slash, but he isn't one of the 16 players who have been fined for diving in the past two years.
And it's a good thing Kadri isn't going to change the way he plays: because it's working.
Nazem Kadri likely to finish as league-leader in penalties drawn for the second straight season. Kadri (35) is eight up on OEL (27).— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) March 28, 2016
Granted, the Leafs have one of the worst power plays this season - their 15.0% clip is second worst in the NHL - but it's never a bad thing to have guys who can get you on the power play. And bottom line, Kadri appears to be one of those guys.
This season, Kadri has a penalty differential of +11. So even though he has 67 penalty minutes himself, he's still drawing a lot more calls than he himself is taking. That +11 differential is tied for 16th in the NHL, behind a handful of guys with penalty differentials of +19, +15, +13, and +12. Last season, he led the entire NHL with a penalty differential of +21.
Drawing penalties is just one of several skills Kadri has in his arsenal. So yeah, he should keep doing what he's doing, because he's good at it and it's working.