While the Leafs will certainly be hoping that Nazem Kadri can provide a much-needed boost to their recently anemic offense, Brian Burke made it very clear he wasn’t expecting Kadri to step in and be the hero of the Leafs’ season. Still with five goals and nine assists in the first 14 games of the year, Kadri has shown the improvements Burke and Wilson wanted to see.
According to Burke, “”He’s drawing penalties almost every night by getting hauled down. He’s been responsible and he’s been good offensively so he’s made a lot of the transformations that we needed him to make. In an ideal world, maybe another couple weeks, maybe three weeks, but it’s not an ideal world. We’re scuffling here.” Given the way Burke handled other former first round picks Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, it was to be expected that Kadri get a call-up, but if not for the Leafs’ current ranking at 29th in goals scored necessitated the move.
Christian Hanson and Korbinian Holzer were demoted to the AHL, while defenseman Keith Aulie was brought up with Kadri. I’m a bit disappointed in Hanson’s demotion, as I think he adds a nice element of size to the lineup, and plays with far more of an edge than John Mitchell. Aulie has a goal and four points in 14 games with the Marlies, as well as 25 penalty minutes.