27-Year-Old Center – Toronto Maple Leafs
Nazem Kadri Contract Information:
Signed a six-year contract extension in April of 2016, worth $4.5 on average annually.
Kadri tacked on a goal and a power-play assist in Wednesday night's 6-3 home win over the Red Wings.
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Nazem Kadri: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Kadri parlayed his best all-around season in Toronto into a six-year, $27.5 million deal at the end of 2015-16. He led the team in scoring with 45 points while taking on the role of shutdown center against the opposition's best forwards. Sure, Nazzy still grates guys the wrong way and he's prone to diving. But Kadri has finally started to grow up as a man and his game has come along for the ride. He'll never be an elite offensive guy and will move down the lineup over time, once Auston Matthews and William Nylander assume the mantle of one-two down the middle. But this season, he'll be a 50-plus-point guy and a fixture on the power play.
Kadri's ego will finally meet opportunity this season – he’s penciled in as the top-line center he fancies himself. But he has a lot to prove. There are rumors of off-ice “issues,” and then there’s Kadri's on-ice performance … or lack thereof. Sure, his “complete” game does seem to be improving. But you’re staring at a guy with a career 45 percent faceoff percentage who potted just 39 points in 73 games last season. Yes, Mike Babcock will help the whole team, but it’ll be a stretch for Nazzy to get near 60 points. It’s make-or-break time for this cocky Leaf – he’ll be 25 on Opening Night, and there are plenty of younger (and more dedicated) guys who’ll push him. He may rise to the occasion … or fall on his face. The risk is yours.
Will Kadri's growth continue? The hype machine was on full display after he delivered 44 points in 48 games in the lockout-shortened 2012-13, but he couldn't carry that kind of production into last season. He did establish new career-bests in goals (20) and points (50), including 18 on the power play, but he had just nine points -- including five goals -- in 22 games after the Olympic break. He's still a wild card -- his plus-minus last season was horrible (minus-11), and he hasn't found a way to produce when the games get tough late in the season. Still, he's the Leafs' undisputed second-line center who'll see ice time on the second power-play unit. He'll toss his weight around and bring you respectable numbers in PIMs and hits, but don't be afraid to trade him if he gets off to hot start. We fully expect him to settle into a 50-to-60 point groove for the next few years, but a Leafs fan might overpay, thinking he's a 70-point stud.
Wow -- what a season for Kadri, who finished second to only Phil Kessel in team scoring with 42 points in 48 games. Sure, there was a late-season drop-off and a relative disappearance in the postseason -- he's still an NHL baby as far as pressure situations go. But it appears he has finally tossed off the goat and is poised to be a scoring center in the NHL after all. His contract status is still in the air in mid summer and it might even come down to a training camp deal for the young man. The contract status shouldn't affect his confidence or his output, and we think he can bring home a 65-point season in 2013-14.
Welcome to the NHL, Mr. Kadri -- now let's see if you can play. We've been critical of him and his skill set since draft day, and unfortunately, we've been right. His offensive skills are elite and his game is growing, but his decision-making is questionable and his impact will be limited -- he'll be a third-liner this season, at best, but he "might" see occasional power-play time. We once thought he could be another Darcy Tucker, but we're not convinced of that anymore, either. Avoid the hype -- leave this 30-point winger to the Leafs fan in your league, at least for this season.
There’s no question Kadri has skill. But he still needs work on his effort and consistency. A move off center sure helps; so will another stint with the Marlies for 2011-12. He has zero opportunity to crack the top-six in Toronto so a trip down Lakeshore Drive would be the best thing for his career. Heck, it fits with general manager Brian Burke’s top-six, bottom-six philosophy so we hope the Leafs will be smart and give him that chance to completely dominate the AHL. Leafs fans will flip; so will Canada’s Don Cherry. But we’re starting to think that kid gloves may be the best -- and only -- way to grow this enigmatic talent into an abrasive, Corey Perry-lite. Otherwise, he could just be another Darcy Tucker.
Kadri is quite easily the Leafs' best prospects and most fantasy pundits consider him a top-10 overall prospect. But is that because most hockey thinkers live and work close to the center of the hockey universe and drink blue Kool-Aid? We love his offensive skills and his speedy wheels but we don't like his petulance and immaturity. He's going to be given a chance to earn the job as second-line center in Toronto and he could deliver you 40 points. But he could just as easily have a career trajectory like Darcy Tucker. Tucker may have been a lower draft pick back in 1993 but his offensive skills (at least then) were similar. Single-year leagues should avoid him this year but keeper leagues should definitely scoop him up, if for no other reason than to lever him in a trade to a Leafs' fan. They always overpay...
The Ottawa Senators coveted this shifty, skilled forward this past June but Leafs’ general manager Brian Burke thumbed his nose at them, grabbing Kadri at pick seven. He’s a future second-line winger who’ll add some flash and dash to the blue-and-white in a few years and some day deliver 70-75 points. Keeper leaguers should already know his name.