Toronto Maple Leafs: Is Nazem Kadri Being Set Up as Trade Fodder?

Sean PaddisonCorrespondent IDecember 21, 2010

Kadri is a goal scorer
Kadri is a goal scorerAbelimages/Getty Images

With the few games that Kadri has played and how selective the coach has been in regards to who he plays against and in what capacity, I'm getting a sneaky suspicion that the Leafs are lining Kadri up to be part of a major spring or late winter trade. He's young, offensively talented and driven. Kadri is just the sort of player a lot of franchises are looking for to lower their cap whilst adding offense.

If the Leafs were really serious about investing in Kadri they would have handled the situation a lot differently. I believe the Leafs have conceded he is a defensive liability. It is probably not unknown to the rest of the league either. However there are plenty of teams out there desperate for offense that would invest in Kadri's development and pray for defensive improvement.

With coach Ron Wilson's neck on the line this spring, it's highly probable he will try to save face or at least attempt to smoke screen naysayers by making another blockbuster trade with GM Brian Burke as the front man.

It appears likely that Leafs fans have one "be patient, we're still rebuilding" year left in them, then Burke and Wilson will be in serious jeopardy of looking like a couple of posers who are soon to be non-Leafs.

The Phil Kessel deal might be the one that Burke rehashes in his mind for the next 20 years if his Leafs experiment turns into a complete bust.

So far this rebuilt team seems to lack any sort of "collective personality."

What happened to the likes of Sundin, Gilmore, Clarke, Tucker, Domi, Thomas and even McCabe? At least those players seem to have some sort of hopeful energy. Watching Leaf interviews now is like attending a monthly corporate team meeting where outside management give speeches that are well written but are delivered with all the energy of a TTC subway token vendor.

Dion Phanuef has spirit, but there appears to be zero belief in his demeanor when he speaks in regards to his team's ability to truly have a chance at anything but an early golf season.

Coach Wilson appears to have all the skill and experience whilst having very little ability to seriously motivate like the likes of Pat Burns, Scott Bowman or Roger Neilson.

Watching Leafs games lately is kind of like watching an old, scrambled cable movie channel. If you reset the box you might get to watch a second of full-screen video but then it's back to the same mess and you come to realize you've just wasted time trying to see one second of video when you could have been better off reading a book or listening to a good compact disc.

I truly hope they get the Leafs up to par with the league, but I believe this isn't going to happen until they find a few warriors and natural leaders to take them to the promised land of a playoff run.

Until then I guess we'll all have to endure more of this less-than-lukewarm play.

Kadri seems to actually have some personality, that's why I think the Leafs are going to trade him. He simply doesn't fit into their Ikea world.