Nazem Kadri, Working with Gary Roberts, Sets His Aim on No. 1 Center Position
The Toronto Maple Leafs ventured into this offseason with two glaring holes on the roster, or so we are told.
The first issue that the Leafs need to address is goaltending. I personally do not think so, but that is a topic for a whole other article that I will start on immediately after I finish this one.
The second issue facing the Leafs is the need for a No. 1 center.
Here is the problem when talking about No. 1 centers. When you think of one, you think of Ryan Getzlaf, Sidney Crosby, Nicklas Backstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and so on. These players are all elite and would be nice to have, but the Leafs are not a contender. Getzlaf, Crosby and Datsyuk all have won Stanley Cups and play for contenders.
The Leafs are not a contender and in my opinion not a playoff team either. The playoff part can be argued both ways for sure.
My point is, if the Leafs are willing to try a left winger at center in James van Riemsdyk, why not try a natural center at center in Nazem Kadri. Before you start with the fact that he hasn't cracked the lineup yet and that he might be a bust, let me tell you this.
Nazem Kadri has been playing for Dallas Eakins for two seasons now. In the beginning, Eakins did talk about Kadri's short comings. He talked about defensive awareness, positioning and turnovers.
Kadri has spent the last two years addressing those concerns.
Mike Brophy of Sportsnet recently talked with Kadri regarding this upcoming season and the things he is doing to get ready and what his role might be on the team.