Leafs weigh risks, benefits of bringing up Kadri

One month after Brian Burke and Ron Wilson could have easily been elected co-mayors of Toronto, the goodwill vanished as quickly as a Toronto Maple Leafs lead.

The team has 10 losses in its past 11 games. The players have already had a dreaded players-only meeting. There are even tickets available for some November games. News that team owner Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is preparing itself for the eventual departure of Burke’s boss, president Richard Peddie, was greeted with cheers. The fans, when they are not screaming for the heads of Burke and his head coach Wilson, are asking why prodigy-in-waiting Nazem Kadri has not been called up from the farm team.

Actually, the Kadri question is the major issue occupying Burke and his fellow Leafs executives right now. They are wrestling with the decision of whether to call up the 20-year-old, possibly as quickly as Saturday for Toronto’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.

Burke was not talking to the media on Thursday but those who know what is going on in the executive suite say the argument is what is best for Kadri versus what is best for the Leafs. Management vowed to bring their first-round draft pick from 2009 along slowly and so far the promise has been kept.

In the meantime, Burke is getting the usual trade inquiries from his fellow NHL general managers. As usual in these situations, they are peddling the overpaid, the concussed and the undertalented, so nothing is brewing.

And by the way, Burke is not a candidate to replace Peddie as MLSE president. The job is all about business and not about hockey, so Burke has told people close to him he is not interested.

The Leafs’ seven-game losing string exposed their lack of a big-time NHL centre. Kadri is not a big-time centre yet, but the struggles of Tyler Bozak and Mikhail Grabovski, the Leafs’ top two centres, suggest he might be the best one in the organization.


19 Responses to Leafs weigh risks, benefits of bringing up Kadri

  1. reinjosh says:

    Well apparently Kadri and Aulie have been called up. I'm not sure this is such a great idea.

  2. hockey_lover says:

    Nope, not at all.

    Whether Kadri turns out to be a stud or a dud remains to be seen. However, Kadri is NOT the answer for the Leafs right now. He is good, yes. But a #1 center that the team needs? Nope, not even close .. yet. This has disaster written all over it. Kadri is going to come up, people are going to expect the moon from him and when he doesnt deliver the moon (and only the stars), people will boo him relentlessly. Its a bad move.

  3. TmLeafan says:

    Something had to be done, why not? I posted on an article a couple days ago saying I think we should give him a chance.  I just hope Wilson gives him a real chance, not give him 14 minutes and call him out for making a couple turnovers, not a great way to build a 19 year olds confidence.

  4. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Well..There's different line combos I guess you can make:

    I guess you can do:


    Personally, I like Hanson better on the wing and would rather have…


    I don't know…It's too messed up for words

  5. Leafs_RegimeofBurke_ says:

    Top 6 is going to be

    Kulemin  Grabovski  Kessel

    Kadri   Bozak   Versteeg

  6. Leafs_RegimeofBurke_ says:

    whoops, forgot big mac!  Lines will be

    Clarke MacArthur    Mikhail Grabovski   Phil Kessel

    Nazem Kadri   Tyler Bozak   Nikolai Kulemin

    Frederik Sjostrom   Tim Brent  Kris Versteeg

    Colton Orr      John Mitchell   Mike Brown

    * Caputi

    Even though I think most of us would prefer for Kadri to rip the AHL, I think the top 6 looks a lot better. Kadri is a great playaker, I'm glad they're putting him on the wing. That 3rd line is pretty sick too, Versteeg on the 3rd line like in Chicago.

    I've got to say, I'm kind of excited to see what happens with this lineup.

  7. hockey_lover says:

    Except thats exactly whats going to happen. People are going to rag on Kadri left and right and will totally ruin his confidence.  Great way to develop your top prospect.

  8. nordiques100 says:

    Kadri is up, but I don't think he'll be playing centre.

    It wouldn't shock me if he joins Bozak and Kessel as the top line Left Winger. He had a couple decent games playing there in the pre-season looking more comfortable with less defensive responsibility.

    That may be the best spot for him, instead of tangling with Sedin/Kesler/Malholtra up the middle on Saturday.

    This would allow them to reunite Kulemin, Grabovski and MacArthur who have played well together.

    They could then move Versteeg either to centre the 3rd line with Mitchell and Sjostrom, or have Mitchell centre that line.

    Brown, Brent and Orr will again make up the 4th unit with Caputi sitting out.

    With Aulie on the backend, he'll play with Lebda on the 3rd pair putting Gunnarsson back to the press box.

    Overall though, its not the wisest move. Instead of an ideal, development oriented situation, he is thrust now into a dire, desperate situation where he has no choice but to succeed.

    They can soften the blow all they want, say all the right things, but the reality is, they need him to give immediate results. That kind of pressure could ruin a player.

    I can't help but think of what the Jackets did with Brule or how poorly James Sheppard turned out after having zero development time.

    His overall game isn't ready. Thus, Wilson best give him some leeway. I am dreading him being benched if he coughs up the puck a couple of times early.

    the Leafs have made their bed here. they have to play him and play him in situations where he can succeed and play him in a way that can give him some confidence. if they call him up, and he ends up with less than 10 minutes a game, it will be an epic fail on the Leafs part. 

  9. reinjosh says:

    I'm interested to see where he plays. He struggled hard at center in the AHL and was moved to the wing. After that move he did very well so moving him to center may not work.  I still don't like it. I don't mind Aulie coming up though.

    At the very least Burke and Wilson are finally going on their word to give youngsters a chance.

  10. albertateams says:

    I hope the kid can come up and preform, but its a risky decision. If he doesn't play well and the team continues to lose what is the next option, start moving people out. You also risk hurting his confidence or having fans turn on him.

  11. Boston_Bruins says:

    Yo mojo, you said you wished Pirate Jet was longer. I found a good live version about 5 mins long, although alot of it is crowd participation by a pretty slow crowd.


  12. coyotes_bettman says:

    This REEKS of desperation and like the old saying goes Desperate times call for desperate measures – a month ago this kid wasn't good enough to crack the NHL – a week ago he wasn't good enough to be in the NHL – now all of a sudden Dallas Eakins has made him walk on water and change water into wine? 

    Kadri is a real stud in the making there is NO doubt at all but unless you're telling him he's gonna sit in a stall beside Kessel the rest of this season and play on the top 6 with Pugnacity and truclence and testosterone – he would have been better served with the Marlies, I just really hope for his sake (and the sake of the Leafs fans that I can stomach) that it doesn't ruin his career it'd be terrible to see him not pan out to where he could be.
  13. broc says:

    I don't get what all the fuss is about.. people saying, "it's sooo desperate!!" oh no!

    The offense isn't coming for the Leafs, and Kadri deserves a call-up. Maybe it's only for a few games, but so many people (esp ones @ hockeybuzz) are freaking out over it.

    If he's up for 2 or 3 games and then back down, is that a terrible move? He deserves a taste to see where he's gotta get to. He's not going to make the Leafs play worse…

    Make a mountain out of a molehill… sheesh.

  14. leafskadri93 says:

    I guess the people that are mad about bringing him up like the lack of scoring the leafs are doing. Whats the worst that could happen? Another loss? I'm a die-hard leaf fan, but it would probably happen against vancouver anyways.

  15. TmLeafan says:

    Good game by the Leafs last night.  Vancouver will end up top 3 in the West probably and we dominated for large parts of the game. 

     Aulie played really well, but the whole team deserves a lot of credit. 
     With all the negativity surrounding the losing streak has anyone else noticed Komisarek playing well? He has really stepped it up since Phaneuf went down.  And Luke Schenn has been amazing all year, he is one of the best young defencemen in the league so there is some positives here.
  16. mojo19 says:

    Thanks, dude. Ya i was talking to my buddy and he said that's his favourite track off Plastic Beach too. The other one I've been listening to a lot lately is 'Some kind of Nature'

  17. mojo19 says:

    Ya good game.

    And about Komisarek. I actually think he's been quietly having a very solid season (knock on wood). He's been responsible, physical, and just plain solid.

  18. Boston_Bruins says:

    Yep that's a good one too, like all the songs on the album. You listen to Blur at all? I'm a big fan of Albarn.

  19. mojo19 says:

    I think blur is just okay. I like him better when he's doing electronic shit, seems like his natural style

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