Expectations for Nazem Kadri have always been high. When you’re a seventh overall draft pick, that’s going to be the case.
But with Phil Kessel gone and Tyler Bozak potentially out the door next, new coach Mike Babcock expects the 24-year-old Maple Leafs center — armed with a one-year, prove-it contract — to take his game to another level next season.
“He gets to come in and have a heck of a year and put the screws to us. Why wouldn’t he? If I’m him, I’m going to have the best year of my career because I’m training the way I should and living the way I should, then why wouldn’t I have a short-term deal?”
Kadri finished 2014-15 with 18 goals and 21 assists in 73 games. While those numbers don’t exactly scream “elite player,” it should be noted he played mostly with Daniel Winnik and Mike Santorelli.
With that in mind, it’ll be interesting to see if Babcock gives Kadri more time with James van Riemsdyk, who skated almost exclusively with Kessel and Bozak on Toronto’s much-maligned first line.
The Philadelphia Flyers have named a replacement for ex-goalie coach Jeff Reese.
Kim Dillabaugh, who spent the last eight years in charge of the Kings’ goalie development, was hired on Friday, the club announced.
Dillabaugh comes to the Flyers from the Los Angeles Kings, where he spent the last eight seasons working in a goaltender development role for the club. In his time with the Kings, Dillabaugh contributed to the development of Jonathan Quick, Jonathan Bernier and Martin Jones, while also working with goaltenders at the club’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs, and prospects playing elsewhere in professional and amateur hockey.
During Dillabaugh’s time with the Kings organization, Los Angeles won two Stanley Cups and made the Conference Finals one other time, while Manchester won one Calder Cup and reached the Eastern Conference Finals two other times.
The goalie coach position in Philly is one worth monitoring, especially after what happened to Reese last season. A favorite of No. 1 goalie Steve Mason, Reese was fired abruptly in March after eight seasons on the job, amid rumors he had a “simmering relationship” with management and head coach Craig Berube.
Reese has since landed as the goalie coach in Dallas. Philly, meanwhile, added to its goalie depth on the opening day of free agency by signing Michal Neuvirth to back up Mason.