While Toronto center Nazem Kadri isn’t known for his defensive prowess, he has made considerable strides in his two-way game this season, writes Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star. With the Leafs welcoming number one overall pick Auston Matthews into the fold, they wanted to shield him from checking the best players from the opposition which meant that Kadri would have to assume the role.
[Related: Toronto’s Depth Chart]
Already with the reputation of being an agitator, Kadri has quietly been effective at slowing down the opposition this year while also contributing at the offensive end, where he sits third on the team in goals with 12 and fifth in points with 20.
Needless to say, Toronto is certainly pleased with Kadri’s play this year, the first of a six year, $27MM pact signed last season. Has his defensive play been good enough to realistically be considered for the Selke Trophy, awarded to the best defensive forward in the league? That may still be a stretch at this point but if he keeps up this level of two-way play the rest of the way, he’ll certainly garner some attention for that award.
Other notes from the Atlantic:
- It will be a banner-raising night in Ottawa as the Senators will be retiring the jersey of long-time captain Daniel Alfredsson in a pre-game ceremony tonight. Alfredsson sits second in games played in franchise history (one behind Chris Phillips) while he holds the club record for goals, assists, points, and shots on goal, among others. He played for only one other organization in his career, the Red Wings, who are taking on the Sens tonight.
- Detroit defender Mike Green is hoping to return to the lineup late next week, reports MLive’s Ansar Khan. He has missed the last three games with an upper body injury and will likely miss the next three as he has January 7th in mind as a potential return date. Green is Detroit’s highest scoring blueliner this year with 18 points (7-11-18) in 32 games.
- Home ice hasn’t been particularly friendly to the Sabres, notes John Vogl of the Buffalo News. Buffalo is playing in their 38th and final home game of 2016 tonight and have posted just a .500 points percentage in those contests, going 15-15-7. In 17 games at home this year, the Sabres have scored just 35 goals, or 2.06 per night. Only Colorado (34 in 17 games) has scored less in the friendly confines of their own arena.