Nazem Kadri of the Maple Leafs: Is His NHL Career at a Crossroads?

January 3rd, 2014 by Christopher Almeras Leave a reply »

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been looking for a true first line center since Mats Sundin last skated in the blue and white. Many felt their search was over when the Leafs drafted Nazem Kadri with the seventh overall pick in the 2009 draft. Since that time, Kadri's play has had its peaks and valleys, leading many to question his future in Toronto.

Most players take time to adjust to the NHL game and their corresponding role. Kadri has, in many ways, been eased into the Maple Leafs scheme. The 2012-13 strike-shortened season was the first time Kadri spent the entire season with the Leafs.

During the short season, Kadri showed fans a glimpse of his potential by finishing second on the team in points, behind Phil Kessel. His 18 goals and 26 assists in 48 games showed he could be an offensive force for the Leafs.

While most of his points were accumulated playing on the third line, it appeared the young center had turned the corner and was poised to take his permanent spot as a top-six forward. This season came with heightened expectations for Kadri, as he was expected to continue to progress into a top center.

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