After 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.