The broader storyline for this offseason is that the Toronto Maple Leafs might look at numbers in a different way, but the bottom line is that Nazem Kadri’s next payday could be significantly healthier if he scores a bunch of goals in this coming contract year.
Kadri told Sportsnet how he expects to improve upon a 20-goal, 50-point output from 2013-14.
“I’ve really been working on my shot and my release, knowing a lot of NHL goalies can’t be beat without a quick release,” says Kadri. “The power doesn’t necessarily have to be there, but the release definitely does. I’m trying to score a few more goals and get more pucks on net.”
The 23-year-old didn’t even fire two shots on goal last season, only managing 148 in 78 regular season games. At least one new Maple Leafs front office member noticed his affinity for passing during the 2013-14 season, too.
Kadri should obviously play to his strengths, yet being more confident with firing the puck could very well help him put up better numbers – both simple and fancy – in 2014-15.
He’s likely to count more than $2.9 million against the cap after next season, but he could command an especially healthy raise if he enjoys explosive growth like, say, Ryan Johansen.
In the meantime, let’s enjoy this Instagram video Kadri shared regarding at least one tool that may help him get rid of the puck a little faster:
/Adds item to holiday wish list.