Only in Toronto would a player like Nazem Kadri be hailed as the next one, but 19-year-old will have to live with the situation.
He’s not as good as the headlines and talk shows billed him to be. Now, he will have to develop in the AHL, get stronger, become a better skater, and all in the shadow of that “other” team in T.O., the Maple Leafs.
The Senators wanted this guy, remember, according to a taped conversation between Leafs GM Brian Burke and his Ottawa counterpart, Bryan Murray.
The Senators got defenceman Jared Cowen, instead. The Kadri selection now looks like the best pick Ottawa didn’t make last year. Let’s let it play out. But Kadri has not stood out in any way during the Leafs camp, including in the rookie tournament in London, where he was “just OK” according to one NHL head coach who was at the tournament.
The Leafs coach, Ron Wilson, and Burke have been even harsher on Kadri.
Burke basically said the kid has to play himself into consideration, that “talking” a good game wasn’t going to cut it.
Unfortunately for Kadri, he can’t just disappear and quietly develop on some U.S. AHL team over the next year or two. He will play in Toronto, one way or the other, AHL or NHL, and there won’t be much quiet in his world.