The Toronto Maple Leafs stole a point from the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night when they forced overtime, but lost a key member of their forward group in the process. Nazem Kadri left the game and was later diagnosed with a concussion, and remained off the ice today at Maple Leafs practice. William Nylander took his place as the team’s third line center, meaning Kadri is not expected to play tonight against the Washington Capitals.
Kadri, 28, is having a down year offensively after recording consecutive 30-goal seasons and will now likely miss some time with this head injury. In 59 games he has just 15 goals and 35 points, but is still doing a capable job down the middle behind Auston Matthews and John Tavares. The long-time Maple Leaf has turned his game into a more defensive-minded effort and worked to improve his faceoff skills dramatically in recent seasons.
The Maple Leafs have experienced relatively good health again this season, but still sit behind the red hot Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division playoff race. Those two teams are on a first-round collision course once again, and will need all hands on deck in what should be another war. With a five-point lead on the Montreal Canadiens and a game in hand, Toronto can afford to play it slow with Kadri and make sure he is fully recovered before inserting him back into the lineup.