Nazem Kadri was a Toronto Maple Leaf through and through for the first decade of his career. During that time, he played under the watchful eye of Ron Wilson, Randy Carlyle, Peter Horachek, before finally arriving in the Mike Babcock era back in 2016.
It’s safe to say that by the time he departed at the beginning of this season, Kadri likely knew the franchise better than anyone else from a player’s perspective. Despite the disciplinary issues that caught the ire of many Leafs fans, it was difficult for the fan base to let go of the heart Kadri brought each and every night.
Unfortunately for the Leafs, the Kadri-less Leafs didn’t get off to the greatest start, and it led to the termination of head coach Mike Babcock. While rumours swirled of the player’s disliking Babs’ and his coaching style, Kadri shared support for his former coach.
While Kadri is no longer with the team, he still has lots of lasting relationships. Kadri called the trade a blessing in disguise, and in the end it seems like playing against the Leafs rather than for them may not be the worst for him.
(H/T Mark Masters)