Nazem Kadri is considered to be one of the Toronto Maple Leafs most entertaining players. The 26-year old has seen his role change over the years, evolving into a position of leadership over a team younger than himself. As Toronto’s rebuild reaches its peak, Kadri’s spot on the roster is rarely put into question, and for good reason.
Toronto Maple Leafs Roster Preview, 50-in-50: Nazem Kadri
Nazem Kadri’s timeline begins in 2006, as an OHL player for the Kitchener Rangers. He started slow, scoring only 22 points in his first season. Kadri’s uphill climb began in 2007 through to 2010, playing for both the Kitchener Rangers and London Knights. He tallied 236 points over 180 games in his final three OHL seasons.
Kadri was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, seventh overall in the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He spent an extra year in the OHL with the London Knights, scoring an astounding 93 points. His potential did not go unnoticed, as Kadri was called up to play 50 total games for the Leafs from 2010-12. He was a Toronto Marlie during this span.
Analytically Speaking (via HockeyReference)
It was during the Maple Leafs 2012-13 season that Kadri’s career finally took off. After tallying 44 points in 48 games, he was brought on to the Leafs roster as a full-time NHL player the following season. He now has 258 points in 408 career games.
Nazem Kadri’s role as a Maple Leaf has shifted over the years. Along with being a fairly steady point producer, he is known as Toronto’s personal ‘pest’. While he may not be the biggest man on the ice, Kadri is a bulldog that can get under his opponent’s skin. His discipline can be hit and miss on occasion, however, he manages to hold his own against some of the league’s best.
Kadri’s advanced stats over his career are nothing to gaff at. Last season wasn’t his best, as he posted a 1.4% relative Corsi at even strength. Kadri has a career average 2.4% relative Corsi. While his possession metrics may not be flourishing, his role as a Maple Leaf moves beyond advanced stats.
Profile (via EliteProspects)
Weight: 194 lbs
NHL Entry Draft: First round, 7th Overall in 2009 by Toronto
Contract (via CapFriendly)
Kadri’s contract isn’t difficult to comprehend. On April 13, 2016, he signed a six-year deal worth $27 million. The contract carries a cap hit of $4,500,000. At the beginning of the 2018-19 season, a modified NTC will come into effect, a 10 team no trade list. A total of $2 million per season out of Kadri’s total salary are paid as a signing bonus. His contract carries a base salary (excluding signing bonuses) of $3 million this season.
All things considered, Nazem Kadri will continue to perform as a dependable centre for the Toronto Maple Leafs. His skill will be amplified by his rookie teammates, who in turn will look to him as a source of leadership as one of the longest standing Leafs players on the roster. Like him or not, he is an upstanding player off the ice (See the Nazem Kadri Foundation) and a dependable force on Toronto’s second line. This season holds potential for not only the Toronto Maple Leafs as a whole but will promote Nazem Kadri’s skill to a degree higher than ever before.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images