2013, Hockey, Sports

Nazem Kadri’s 2013 NHL Performance

Based on nearly half of this bastardized “season,” the remarks I made about Kadri were wrong. And, provided he keeps up this point-per-game pace – and there is no guarantee that he will or won’t – his emergence as a legitimate top 6 forward in the NHL stands as a reminder to people like me about age and inexperience: sometimes a young player under-performs because the expectations were too high but sometimes a young player under-performs because he is still too young and / or too inexperienced.

It seems that Kadri has finally grasped the pro game at a level greater even than when he was playing in the A before the season started. And it should be noted that he is leading the team in scoring while playing second line minutes. (That doesn’t mean he will be even better if he plays first line minutes, but only that he is extraordinarily productive at the moment.) So it seems that he has arrived and my (our?) fears that he wouldn’t live up to his draft position are waning. (He is still only 11th in points for his draft year, but that no longer qualifies him as a bust, merely as a minor disappointment. Further, his points per game are significantly better than a number of the players above him, which moves him from minor disappointment to actual decent pick or even better than that.)

So this is a good thing. I still don’t think he’s going to dominate the league, but now, nearly four years after he was drafted, it does seem like he was the right choice for the Leafs,  whereas it has seemed like either a bad idea -or a good idea mishandled by the Leafs typically inept handling of prospects – for the past couple of seasons, and even the early part of this AHL season.

All this is to say that I am happy a Leafs top 10 pick has finally resulted in a legitimate NHL player – I don’t want to say “star” yet – and I hope he keeps it up. Here’s hoping he finishes the year with around 50 points and the team lead.

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