Why Nazem Kadri Needs to Play for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL

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Why Nazem Kadri Needs to Play for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Few prospects in Toronto have been as polarizing as Nazem Kadri has since he was tabbed by the Leafs in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

On the one hand, his skill level is abundant and his flashes of brilliance provide a modicum of optimism for fans of a middling franchise.

Alternatively, his slow ascension to the NHL ranks has led to some labeling him a "bust" after 51 career games in the NHL.

The unrealistic expectations that have been heaped upon Kadri weren't a benefit to the former top-10 selection in a day and age where prospects are expected to make an immediate, noticeable impact. A cocksure attitude does him no favors either.

However, whether he's liked or disliked, or viewed as a viable prospect or a bust, the fact remains the upcoming season (assuming it isn't lost due to a third lockout under Mr. Bettman's watch) is integral for Kadri's development.

After biding his time in the AHL (and performing admirably during a shortened playoff stint this past season), while receiving the occasional big league call-up, it's time for Kadri to report for full-time duty in a Leafs jersey for a variety of reasons.

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