Toronto Maple Leafs send Nazem Kadri down to the AHL

Thumbnail image for nazemkadriunderpressure.jpgAfter a preseason of over-analysis and excessive criticism, the Toronto Maple Leafs probably made the right decision by sending 2009 first round draft pick Nazem Kadris back to the AHL. TSN shares reports that the team sent Kadri back down to play with the Marlies.

General manager Brian Burke repeatedly stated that Kadri would need to force his way into the top-six forward group to stick with the big club out of camp, but the 19-year old struggled in pre-season.

Joining Kadri on the Marlies will be forwards Christian Hanson, Luca Caputi,defenceman Matt Lashoff and goalt. Defenceman Danny Richmond also sent out a message to his followers on Twitter (@D_Richmond02) that he had been placed on waivers, a move that was later confirmed by the team in a press release. Joining Richmond on waivers were forwards Jay Rosehill and Mike Zigomanis.

AHL journeyman Tim Brent avoided the axe with a strong pre-season campaign and has likely earned himself a spot on the third line.

I think this is the best choice for both Kadri and the Maple Leafs. Perhaps the 19-year-old forward could gain some seasoning in the right situation, but in the pressure cooker that is Toronto, just about every game would be picked apart like a piece of crime scene evidence.

Instead, the Maple Leafs might preserve another entry-level year on Kadri’s contract. This will allow the team to get more bang for their buck if Kadri ends up blossoming with a little more experience.

I’ve only had a chance to write this a few times, but solid work by Leafs GM Brian Burke.

Flames acquire Freddie Hamilton, brother of Dougie

Freddie Hamilton
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Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.

Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.

Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.

This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.

Fabbri primed to make Blues in significant role

Jason Demers, Robby Fabbri
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With the start of the regular season just around the corner, it looks like Robby Fabbri will not only make his NHL debut on Thursday, but also get meaningful minutes.

During Sunday’s practice the 19-year-old forward played alongside Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz. Nothing is set in stone, but that combination did gel.

“I think we want to look at what the combinations look like now rather than do it at the start of the season,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’re looking at a hard match line and we’re also looking at taking advantage of speed and skill off the rush.

“I really liked what I saw today. I really liked Lehtera’s line, they looked very dynamic off the rush.”

The top line of Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, and Vladimir Tarasenko seems like a good bet to play together for the time being. Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz will stick together on the second line while Dmitrij Jaskin and David Backes can expect to be regular partners on the third unit. The X-factors will be Fabbri and Troy Brouwer as Hitchcock has left the door open to alternating between the two of them on the second and third line depending on the opponent.

Fabbri was taken with the 21st overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and is looking to make the leap after a brief stint in the AHL last season. At the OHL level, he’s been a dominate force with the Guelph Storm, scoring 25 goals and 51 points in 30 games in 2014-15.