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Leafs’ Kadri aims for more goals in contract year

Aug 31, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

Toronto Maple Leafs v Ottawa Senators Getty Images

The broader storyline for this offseason is that the Toronto Maple Leafs might look at numbers in a different way, but the bottom line is that Nazem Kadri‘s next payday could be significantly healthier if he scores a bunch of goals in this coming contract year.

Kadri told Sportsnet how he expects to improve upon a 20-goal, 50-point output from 2013-14.

“I’ve really been working on my shot and my release, knowing a lot of NHL goalies can’t be beat without a quick release,” says Kadri. “The power doesn’t necessarily have to be there, but the release definitely does. I’m trying to score a few more goals and get more pucks on net.”

The 23-year-old didn’t even fire two shots on goal last season, only managing 148 in 78 regular season games. At least one new Maple Leafs front office member noticed his affinity for passing during the 2013-14 season, too.

Kadri should obviously play to his strengths, yet being more confident with firing the puck could very well help him put up better numbers – both simple and fancy – in 2014-15.

He’s likely to count more than $2.9 million against the cap after next season, but he could command an especially healthy raise if he enjoys explosive growth like, say, Ryan Johansen.

In the meantime, let’s enjoy this Instagram video Kadri shared regarding at least one tool that may help him get rid of the puck a little faster:

/Adds item to holiday wish list.

  1. jinx21fan - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    I like Nazem and I really hope he can find the consistency that’s lacking in his game. He just gave an Interview stating that his goal is to win the 1C role. I like that attitude, although with Bozak/Kessel seemingly joined at the hip and the chemistry he has with Lupul (until Lupul got hurt last year, Lupul never looked the same after) I’d be surprised if the two centers are flipped. And either way, sooner rather than later, William Nylander will be locked into that role. He is the real deal, this isn’t going to be a long-term “project” to get him to the NHL. If he does make the team all bets are off at center.

    I have little doubt Kadri and Lupul can rebound. Hopefully that anchor Clarkson either plays to the very max of his abilities, or stays on the third line. One of the plethora of new forwards may fit in with them. Kadri does have a good shot and can definitely throw a few more on net. The whole team could, they were ranked 25th in SOG.

    Long-term you have Nylander and Frederik Gauthier locks for 2 of the top 3. I don’t see any way Kadri gets a long term deal out of Nonis this go-around.

    • dueman - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      I know that some sites have Nylander listed as a center, but he has been playing right wing for a while now, and was playing right wing at the prospects game with Toninato as the center. If he makes the team this year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him, Kadri, And Lupul as our second line. A line with that much skill would be a real threat, and would also be really fun to watch. Kadri has had 2 solid years with the Leafs now, and if he improves on last year’s numbers, then I really don’t see why they wouldn’t lock him up for at least 5 years, as he’s only going to get better as time goes on. Remember, he’s still only 23 years old…

      • jinx21fan - Aug 31, 2014 at 1:38 PM

        Yeah, I just seen it listed on the Leafs’ site. Absolute first time I’ve seen/heard him listed as a RW. Nothing anywhere says he’s been playing wing for a while. I’ve only seen articles saying he’s split last year, which I assumed is when he went up to play with Michael. I definitely have to go over everything again. I do know we have a chit f***ing team if Kadri and Bozak are our top 2 centers. Complete joke.

      • dueman - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:40 PM

        Have some faith dude. The season hasn’t even started yet…

  2. garybrian2014 - Sep 1, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    Got to play full game every night and stay out of Carlyle’s doghouse!

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