Toronto Maple Leafs Kadri Thinks He Will Develop Into a John Tavares-like Player


Toronto Maple Leafs’ Kadri Thinks He Will Develop Into a John Tavares-like Player

At one time, there was not much that separated Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri, and New York Islanders forward John Tavares.

Jan 7, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center

Nazem Kadri

(43) picks up the puck against the New York Islanders at Air Canada Centre. The Islanders beat the Maple Leafs 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The former London Knights teammates were once line-mates together, as well as roommates. They were both Ontario born stars of the OHL. They were both selected in the 2009 NHL draft, only six picks apart – Tavares first, Kadri seventh. Heck, even off the ice they were similar, as they were born only 16 days apart from one another.

But looking at Kadri and Tavares as NHL pros, you wouldn’t know for a second that they were that similar.

Tavares is a bona fide NHL superstar that is not only a probable Hart Trophy candidate, but is also the uncontested leader of the New York Islanders. Meanwhile, Kadri is not only trying to re-find his offensive prowess from the successful lockout shortened season he had two-year’s ago, he also trying to find his niche on an inconsistent Maple Leafs team.

To say much has changed since their days together in London would be an understatement.

As both players look to be heading in different directions, one thing that has not changed since their time together is Kadri’s confidence – or as some would call it, cockiness.

Prior to Tuesday’s game against the New York Islanders, Kadri had this to say when asked about being compared to Tavares.

To add further to the video, Kadri went on to say that, “I think talent-wise, there’s not too much difference, to be honest,” Kadri said. “Johnny’s a guy that works hard and that’s something he’s learned from day 1, so I’m getting my work ethic going and doing everything I can to be one of those players.”

With Tyler Bozak firmly entrenched as the Leafs’ number one centre, justly or not, Kadri looks to be firmly implanted as the team’s number two centre. Sure Kadri has tons of potential to his game that could one day develop into a top-line talent, but after the way Red Wings centre Henrik Zetterberg dominated Kadri this past weekend, it’s safe to say that potential is still a ways away from making its presence felt.

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  • So where exactly does Kadri see himself mirroring Tavares’ elite level of play?

    Maybe in tape ball?

    While I understand it is really a no-win scenario for Kadri here because if he says he’s not close to Tavares on the ice, the Toronto media grills him. While if he says what he did, the Toronto media labels him as cocky, or over-confident.

    But when you are a former seventh overall pick entering your fifth season as a pro, you have to start delivering on the ice before you willingly compare yourself to upper echelon players like John Tavares.

    In Kadri’s case, he simply has not done that.

    To be frank, the one conclusion we have drawn from Kadri thus far, is that he struggles mightily against the league’s top-line centres, as Henrik Zetterberg so kindly pointed out this past weekend as he racked up five points in two games, and dominated Kadri in the face-off circle, winning 17-of-24 draws against Kadri.

    While Kadri might think he is well on his way to reaching that elite-level, Tavares-like status, his on-ice performance this season begs to differ.

    By the looks of things so far, the only thing Kadri looks to be well on his way to, is avoiding matchup’s against top-line opponents like Henrik Zetterberg. Not becoming one like his former London Knights teammate, John Tavares.

    What do you think Leaf fans? Is Kadri close to developing into a top-line centre like John Tavares? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.