Nazem Kadri was brought up last season for one game and seemed a little lost by turning the puck over being caught out of position a number of times.
The preseason excitement surrounding the budding star was snuffed when the regular season began as general manger Brian Burke and head coach Ron Wilson both felt it would be better to put Kadri down on the farm to learn and grow.
However, 15 games into the season, a few injuries and Toronto’s continual problems bulging the twine later, Kadri was called up.
In five games this season he has four assists while playing the wing, rather than up the middle as a center, his natural position.
Though he has yet to light the lamp, Kadri has made some passes that deserve some serious praise, resulting in questions about his future with the big club a quarter of the way through the season.
The biggest question, it would seem, is should he be kept up with the big club for the rest of the season or sent down to the AHL to continue to develop?
Could he be a determining factor in vaulting the Leafs out of the bottom five come the end of the season, thus taking away a top five draft pick that would go to Eastern Conference rival Boston as a part of the Phil Kessel trade?
Better yet, could he help the Leafs reach the promised land by earning a playoff spot?
With those hypothetical thoughts in mind, does Brian Burke have a deal in background to bring in a top six forward to Toronto, which in turn would make sending Kadri back down to the AHL affiliate Marlies the smart move for the future, but would prompt obvious dismay for Leafs nation.
We could continue on with the speculation down many paths and many what ifs, but the fact of the matter is, Kadri has arrived on the scene in Toronto with impact.
Again, though he hasn’t buried the puck himself—which I’d bet isn’t far off—he has created offense and room for others to succeed offensively, which is something this Toronto club desperately needs.
Burke and the brass have a tough decision to make on Kadri, which has a few factors involved in it including: money, developing for the future, the now, and others.
As it stands, I’m sure the majority of Leafs nation would scorn any move of Kadri down to the AHL as he gets better each shift while building confidence and he brings another excitement factor to Leafs.
Only Burke and the inner circle of the Leafs brass know the near future of Kadri, and I would bet their decision is still teetering.
But with his play and growth albeit on the wing Kadri for the time being has seemingly played himself into a permanent position on this 2010/2011 roster, or has he?