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Making sense of Nazem Kadri’s development

Feb 1, 2012, 9:19 PM EDT

Nazem Kadri AP

Hockey-mad Toronto has a tendency to create some fascinating battles between perception and reality when it comes to the Maple Leafs. Nazem Kadri provides the latest example, as he’s a forward who’s either being sorely underrated or dramatically over-hyped depending upon who you ask.

Damien Cox caught up with Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, who insists that the franchise hasn’t lost patience with Kadri despite demoting him to the minors – again.

“Naz is going to be a good NHL player,” said Burke in an email. “But young players need to bring urgency and energy to the game, and those components have tailed off.

“He’s going to be just fine.”

Of course, there’s always the possibility that Kadri isn’t all that great to begin with.

Cox indicates that the Kadri “yo-yo” situation might constitute the latest round of shots fired in the goofy little “war” between Burke and hockey commentator Don Cherry because Cherry is a big fan of Kadri. Even after defending the way the Maple Leafs are bringing Kadri along, Cox also surmises that the center might be the prospect that Toronto moves sometime between now and the trade deadline.

All this said, nobody would be stunned if Kadri were the prospect to move if the Leafs pull the trigger on a deal. He’s going to play in the NHL. The question is whether he’s going to be able to play in Toronto for this coaching staff, or whether, as often happens with young players, he’ll need a change of scenery before the light goes on.

That said, this is also true. Kadri still needs to acquire greater body strength through training, and the lack of that may be why his “urgency and energy” haven’t been in recent days what they were when he was first recalled.

Perhaps the most interesting thing to come from a trade would be a more sober assessment of what Kadri’s actually capable of. For better or worse, it’s unlikely that Toronto will provide the most “balanced” viewpoint of that player.

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 1, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    Great skater, pretty good vision and hands, but he tries to do too much and make too many moves. He could be pretty good one day but he’s more valuable in a trade than in the lineup for the Leafs.

    • psujay - Feb 1, 2012 at 9:29 PM

      Another one of our overrated prospects. He’s the NHL version of a Red Sox or Yankees’ prospect. He’s certainly got NHL talent, but if he were a prospect on the Coyotes or Nashville he would be another guy with an NHL future as a potential second line player. With the media in Toronto you’d think he’s the next Gaborik.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 1, 2012 at 10:09 PM

        Two problems with that. One, half the Red Sox team is homegrown. They bring up some damn good prospects through their system.

        Two, I’ve never heard Kadri hyped up that much. When I watched him play in the O I thought he was gonna be good and was hoping the Leafs would draft him. Notice I say good, not great, and obviously lots of people thought the same. The problem with playing in Toronto is the immense pressure he’s likely never had to deal with. A fresh start in a new city would probably be in his and the Leafs’ best interest.

      • psujay - Feb 2, 2012 at 9:01 AM

        I was thinking more of the Phil Hughes/Joba Chamberlain/Clay Bucholz (sp) variety. Like I said, he’s a legit second line talent in the NHL, but he gets more press than any other prospect in the game. If he weren’t on the Leafs he’d be regarded as what he is: a solid NHL prospect. It wasn’t an insult to any of the parties involved.

      • odj810 - Feb 2, 2012 at 9:16 AM

        stay away from the baseball references. there just not similar to hockey as far as prospects go. and your trying to say bucholz was an overrated prospect. but he was top 5 in ERA before he got hurt in the AL east. can you hope for more then that?

  2. whittle79 - Feb 1, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Trade him !!

  3. taytay099 - Feb 1, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    Maybe if Toronto were patient with their prospects they’d be better. Look at Detroit and how their young players spend 3-4 years in the AHL before they find a spot on the Wings’ roster.

  4. charlutes - Feb 1, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    Why is it unlikely that Toronto will provide an honest viewpoint? That’s a pretty dumb statement.

    All the Burke staff has done is clean up JFJ’s mess, and the Leafs are now slowly becoming a playoff contender again, not to mention a fast, exciting, young team. I think the Leafs staff have a pretty good idea of what Kadri is all about.

  5. murtdurt - Feb 2, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    Durrka durrka! Just another wasted leafs pick setting them further behind the rest of the league

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:31 AM

      Did somebody terk yer jrrb?

  6. solador78 - Feb 2, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    The same thing happened to Jason Spezza and look how he turned out…

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