The Toronto Maple Leafs have lost Nazem Kadri —the team's top prospect—to injury. After receiving a cross-check to the lower abdomen in the first game of the Leafs' rookie tournament, Kadri sat out Sunday night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
According to the Toronto Star, Kadri suffered a minor hip-flexor injury.
"Nazem wants to play," Leafs GM Brian Burke told Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star. "It's a precautionary measure. He has a minor strain of the hip flexor. We're keeping him out."
Burke expects Kadri to play in Tuesday night's game, saying that he was scratched as a precautionary measure. This is bittersweet news for Leafs Nation, for if Kadri can't withstand a vigorous cross-check from a junior-level player, how will he fare against bigger, stronger NHLers?
While Kadri is expected to play on Tuesday night, with hip-flexor injuries, anything could happen.
Meanwhile, a Kadri-less Leafs rookie squad faced the Pittsburgh Rookie Penguins on Sunday Night.
Andrew Crescenzi - Mike Liambas - Richard Greenop
Dave Cowen - Simon Gyspers
Jesse Blacker- Dallas Jackson
Marc-Andre Dorion - Erik Burgdoerfer
Ben Scrivens (Starter)
Overall, the Leafs' rookies played a good game that slowed down towards the end. They played a more sound defensive game, but lacked the offensive flair of the game before. A fluke goal with less than a minute left sealed the loss. They played with pugnacity and energy, but after many wasted powerplay opportunities, the Leafs didn't have what it takes to capitalize.
On a positive note:
Simon Gyspers, Ben Scrivens, Dallas Jackson, and Kenny Ryan played great.
Gyspers appears to have the poise that Blacker had last preseason and is trying to regain.
Scrivens looked great until the unlucky game winner, but established himself none the less as a credible prospect.
Jackson came from the ECHL's Reading Royals and is shockingly steady. Smart and poised, look for this blue liner to earn himself—at the very least, a contract with the Marlies.
Ryan has played great in back-to-back games but his defensive prowess is his most awe inspiring feature. His two-way play has been unmatched by any of the other players to date. Ryan also is tied for the lead in points for the Leafs with two points in two games played.
Honourable Mentions: Brayden Irwin, Sondre Olden, Andrew Crescenzi, and Mike Liambas