The Toronto Maple Leafs
have sent highly-regarded center Nazem Kadri
to the AHL Toronto Marlies to start the season.
Kadri, the seventh pick of the 2009 Entry Draft, had 2 goals, 3 points and a minus-3 rating in five preseason games.
Kadri had dazzled last year in the preseason, but failed to make as much of an impression this fall. His demotion seemed a certainty Friday when coach Ron Wilson, following the team's loss, told reporters, "I can't see him playing in our lineup opening night and I don't think it's that important. He's got to be a better hockey player."
Leafs GM Brian Burke
had said Kadri needed to earn a top-six forward spot to stick with the team, which apparently didn't happen. But Burke's history shows him leaving players too long in the minors rather than rushing them -- two examples would be Ducks star forwards Ryan Getzlaf
and Corey Perry
, who had extensive AHL playing time prior to becoming full-time NHL players.
"I'm playing as hard as I can," Kadri said prior to his being cut. "I'm trying to make this team, that's what I want to do. But it's in the hands of the coaches and whatever they decide to do, I'm fine with."
Also sent down to the AHL team were forwards Christian Hanson
and Luca Caputi
, and goalie Jussi Rynnas
The team also placed defenseman Danny Richmond
and forwards Jay Rosehill
and Mike Zigomanis