Kadri already in Carlyle’s doghouse
With another workday nearly done at Wednesday’s Leafs practice, Nazem Kadri made like a short-order cook. Using the blade of his stick like a spatula, he picked up a puck and repeatedly heaved it high into the air.
The disc went up. The disc came down. And Kadri, though he attempted to catch it like an artfully tossed fried egg, never could manage the trick.
Speaking of futile pursuits, let’s consider Kadri’s not-so-handy work in Toronto’s 2-1 loss to the Avalanche on Tuesday night. Centring a line comprising enforcer Colton Orr and grinding winger Carter Ashton, Kadri played all of 13 minutes in Toronto’s first defeat of the season. The Leafs are only four games into an 82-game season. It’s early. But it’s interesting to note that, in two of the past three games, Kadri has been buried deep in Toronto’s forward rotation.
In Philadelphia last week, Kadri took all of 17 shifts and played a little less than 12 minutes. As a point of reference, first-line centreman Tyler Bozak averaged about 30 shifts and 22 minutes a game last season.
Four games into the season Kadri, who signed a two-year deal worth $5.8 million on the eve of training camp, is averaging 14:35 per game — ninth among Toronto forwards and third among centremen. To put that in perspective, Kadri finished sixth among Leafs forwards in ice time per game last season, when he averaged more than 16 minutes a night and was the team’s second-leading scorer with 44 points.