Sometimes first-round draft picks take a little longer to adjust to the NHL, and Nazem Kadri may very well fit that bill. Unless you are Sidney Crosby, the transitional jump from the Junior ranks to the NHL is comparable to a grade school student making a jump to high school without completing grade seven and eight.
Toronto Maple Leaf GM Brian Burke has been critical of his future superstar Nazem Kadri during the preseason, claiming that the future phenom "isn't ready to compete at this level."
Kadri quickly responded to Burke's criticism by defending his play in the preseason.
“I think people are forgetting I’m only 19 years old," Kadri said. "It’s still a learning process. I’m trying to get my feet wet. I’m still learning, I’m still a young kid.”
Head coach Ron Wilson is now jumping on the Kadri critic list stating, “He’s got to realize the situation he’s in and get the job done—not talk his way out of how he’s played up to this point!”
Burke and Wilson are taking the wrong approach to the future of the Maple Leafs organization.
Instead of publicly criticizing his play, they need to sit down with him and tell him what he needs to do in order to contribute to the success of the organization as a whole. It's obvious to everyone that Kadri isn't ready for the NHL, so the last thing he needs is a GM or coach making a public spectacle of it.
So many young players are being ruined by the same attitude displayed by Burke and Wilson, that the NHL should bring forth a ruling that in order to play in the NHL you must play a certain amount of games in the AHL. What harm could it do to players if they spent an extra year or two in the AHL? If anything it will allow them to build up some confidence, and have more productive NHL careers!