Last season (TOR): 16G; 28A – 44 Pts; -2 rating in 73 GP.
This season: 10G; 10A – 20 Pts; +3 rating in 27 GP
Cap Hit – $7,250,000 ($4.5 mil + Tyson Barrie’s $2.75 mil retained salary)
In the off season, various media outlets identified the need for a bona-fide second line center. Joe Sakic went out and shopped around, eventually settling on Ontario native Nazem Kadri to fill the void. Certainly, he has come over as billed, netting 10 goals and being around the pace to match his career best of 32.
Yes, I agreed with the idea of trading Tyson Barrie, rather than lose him for free. More on that later. I didn’t like losing Alexander Kerfoot, either,but that is the business side of the sport. What really irked me over the acquisition of Kadri was the retained salary, particularly as he found his scoring touch just in time to help the Leafs beat us in our own barn. To be paying a player’s wage so he can beat you just doesn’t seem right at all.
Kadri is winning faceoffs (57%) and as a result is finding time on the first powerplay unit, to take faceoffs in MacKinnon’s stead, where normally Gabe Landeskog would slot in. This seems to be working a little, as Kadri has 7 power play points this season. I think that I would rather see him center the second PP unit, but as I’m not the coach, that isn’t my call.
He has formed a nice chemistry with his new linemates of Donskoi and Burakovsky, though all three have seen significant time this season on the first line, due to injuries. When the dust settles and the lines return to full strength, that time spent playing with MacK should have paid some dividends and allowed the three of them to come back more confident than they were at the start of the season.
Quarter Season Grade: B+
Just the shot in the arm the Colorado Avalanche second line needed, though there are issues with penalties being accrued. The refs aren’t very forgiving when you’re in Burgundy & Blue, so Naz needs to learn that and adapt his game slightly, without losing that gritty edge.