I don’t get the Nazem Kadri thing.
Kadri has been the Leafs best player over the Leafs first few games.
He turned 22 three months ago. He is the Leafs youngest player, three months younger than elder statesman Jake Gardiner.
I don’t know where the Nazem Kadri narrative was stolen. Maybe the answer is in Don Cherry’s unflagging support for Kadri which was fuelled by Cherry’s intense disdain for Ron Wilson. Kind of a chicken and egg thing there.
It’s probably because the first four players taken in Kadri’s 2009 draft class, John Tavares, Victor Hedman, Matt Duchene and Evander Kane quickly morphed into impact players. Kadri, by comparison, played 92 American Hockey League games. He also managed 51 Leaf games.
What I don’t get is the hurry. Here’s the thing with kids. They grow at their own pace. Woe to the parent who begins to despair that his kid isn’t walking or talking as early as other kids the same age.
When he came into the league, Kadri was a junk-food-eating, talented kid with a career-limiting distaste for defence and physical play.
All that’s left is the talent and it seems to me those 92 games and thousands of miles on the bus had something to do with that.
Management’s job wasn’t to get him into the NHL at 18. Management’s job was to get him into the NHL for 10-12 years.
After three whole games, it looks like maybe they have.