Nazem Kadri’s Rookie Season Comparables

Nazem Kadri’s rookie season didn’t earn him a Calder nomination. His rookie season didn’t see him make the Toronto Maple Leafs out of camp or win a spot in the Leafs’ meagre top six. He actually had two stints with the big club this year. He spent 17 games with the Leafs from November 13th to December 26th, going 17GP 0G 6A 6Pts (0.35ppg) in that span. Then from March 16th to April 9th he played 12GP with 3G 3A 6Pts (0.5ppg).

He finished the season at 0.41ppg. What does that mean for the 20 year old forward?

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I went to and pulled a list of players who put up between .35 and .45 points per game in their age 20 season since the lockout. Those names are:

Mike Richards, James van Riemsdyk, Guillame Latendresse, Marcus Johansson, Brandon McMillan, Rastislav Olesz, Mattias Tedenby, Corey Perry, Oscar Moller, Colin Wilson, Steve Downie, Andrew Ladd, Logan Couture, Mikael Backlund, Bobby Ryan, Andrei Loktionov, Teemu Hartikainen, T.J. Galiardi, Matt Martin and Michal Repik.

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There are some names on there that aren’t stars but there aren’t a ton of names on there that aren’t decent prospects. Kadri has some work to do on his game but for me it’s easier to be patient when looking at the company he’s in. Could Kadri be looking at a 20 goal season next year? We’ll find out.

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  • Not bad company. I think Kadri’s learned as much as he can from the AHL so the next step will be putting together a full season in the NHL.

    From the make up of the forwards it looks like Kadri could be getting some prime ice-time against soft competition.

    Excited to see this guy play.

    • I don’t think of the third line as being stuck. It’s shaping up like a line that’ll get some easy minutes and be used as a third scoring line. Plus, I’d bet he’ll be on one of the PP units.

      But your expectations are definitely in the right range.

  • The '67 Sound

    Kadri is definitely poised for a good year and a good step up. You look at that list of names, and besides being very interesting, you have to admit there’s a ton of talent that turned into Rocket Richard winners, captains of their clubs, and a bunch of good prospects. As an Oiler fan, I have to say that this guy has the talent to do some good work here…but that’s just my team has forced me to focus on prospects and development for the last few years…

  • The '67 Sound

    This was a far more uplifting list than I expected. I just pray Wilson uses the 3rd line as a sheltered scoring line instead of insisting on creating a checking line that our personnel doesn’t justify.

  • positivebrontefan

    From where they were supposed to end up, Kadri a top six guy, and Hartikainen a bottom six guy, I’m starting to like Harski more and more. That’s not taking anything away from Kadri, just makes me excited as an Edmonton fan to see more of the big Finn.
    This list also goes to show that snapshot stats are a bit of a crapshoot when it comes to painting a real definitive picture of a player going forward but it does breed hope and that’s what fans of non playoff teams live off of. I should know. Nice article.

    Quick question; as an Oilers fan we heard alot of hype about Kadri out west here, has he so far lived up to the Leaf fans expectations or has he been a bit of a let down?

    • positivebrontefan

      Hard to say, really.

      I think he’s suffering from the expectations of his draft pedigree — 7th overall certainly feels like a lofty bar to set, but we do tend to overestimate the value of high draft picks.

      As Chemmy points out, based on what he’s already done, he’s in good company. I’m hoping he turns out better than some of those names, and if he becomes anywhere near Mike Richards or Bobby Ryan level, that would be fantastic.

      I think there was a general hope that he’d walk on to the team at 18 and be a Calder candidate with 20+ goals. I’m just as guilty of that as anyone, but I’ve come back to earth.

      Now, I think he’s going to be a good NHL scorer if he can be a bit more physical. Kid’s certainly got some of the niftiest mittens we’ve got.

      Above all, I think Kadri has gotten so much focus because the team needs Top 6 scoring so desperately. He’s probably the Leafs’ best 1st-round scoring prospect since Antropov and Brad Boyes in 99/00.

      The fanbase really, really wants to see this kid succeed as an NHL scorer. Because 7th overall is not where you want to be getting depth defensemen and checking forwards.

      • positivebrontefan

        We have the same issue with Gagner here in Edmonton. Top six pick and he has played alot of games at a young age and has put up points in the league but people are wanting alot more out of the youngster.