I’m not about to jump on the Nazem Kadri bandwagon after one game – and one memorable shootout goal – but his performance Friday night in New Jersey certainly gets you wondering about a few things regarding the first-round pick.
The shootout winner, that basically undressed future hall of famer Martin Brodeur, displayed everything that Kadri is purported to be. There surely must be room for his natural (and abundant) offensive talent on the Leafs roster, isn’t there?
Obviously, and for whatever reason, Kadri never truly got the chance to properly display it under Ron Wilson. Part of it was Kadri’s cockiness and unwillingness to buckled down on defence. Part of it was Wilson’s unwillingness to give him a meaningful, sustained term with the big club.
It would certainly appear that Kadri’s game is better suited to the NHL. In the minors, the flow of play is different – especially on offence – which can stifle a talented player like the young prospect.
It will be interesting, then, to see how current coach Randy Carlyle handles Kadri. He certainly isn’t Carlyle’s type of player, but the need for offence is so glaring on this team that it can’t be ignored.
Carlyle said he acted on advice from Marlies coach Dallas Eakins on Friday night in deciding to let Kadri shoot cleanup in the extra session.
If the coach shows more such confidence in the player, perhaps the much-awaited emergence of Kadri will begin.
(It wasn’t Kadri’s first big shootout goal, either. Check this one out against the Bruins’ Tim Thomas.)