AHL training camps opened up last week and put an end to some of the misery around the lockout. Unfortunately for Toronto Maple Leaf fans the Toronto Marlies camp didn't exactly start off on a good note, when first round draft pick from 2009 Nazem Kadri showed up to camp slightly overweight and with low fitness.
“His body fat today is probably in the bottom three to five guys in our whole camp. That’s unacceptable." "That’s the easiest part coming into camp is eating correctly and training correctly" ~ Marlies Head Coach Dallas Eakins
Kadri's explanation to his low fitness:
"I’m still a young guy."
Newsflash Kadri, you'll be 22 by the end of the week that young guy excuse is getting pretty old.
The Toronto Maple Leafs drafted Kadri 7th overall in the 2009 draft. It was a bit of a controversial pick as he wasn't even ranked inside the 10 and there was a rumour that the Senators GM had baited the Leafs into drafting Kadri. Leafs fans were puzzled by the pick and immediately Kadri was dubbed as a super star and a player that could save the franchise. It was expected he make the jump to the NHL after a single season in the AHL.
It's now 2012 and Kadri has still failed to make and stick with the Toronto Maple Leafs for an entire NHL season. The other problem with his development is if he is such a prized prospect he should be lighting it up in the AHL, but he's not. Last season he finished outside the top 100 scorers in the AHL not exactly what you expect from a first round draft pick 3 years ago.
Here's the really scary thing, this is now Kadri's third year as a "pro" and he still doesn't understand how to properly prepare his body and what foods to eat, will he ever get it? This year would have been his 4th training camp with the Leafs and judging by how poorly he showed at Marlies training camp he likely would have been sent packing. He's been told what to do, "get stronger so you're not as easy to push off the puck and get a little faster." It's been the same story for the last 4 years, yet he has failed to do it.
What puzzles fans and media is that Kadri reportedly worked out with fitness nut Gary Roberts this summer, yet still was not in the best shape he could have been. Did Kadri not dedicate himself to follow Roberts program? I mean Stamkos immediately saw improvement after working with him.
Kadri's major problem is his attitude. He's never had the right attitude since the day he got cut from his first Leafs training camp and "didn't understand". He's full of self-entitlement something very popular in this generation. Now I know it's easy to mistake confidence for self-entitlement but this kid unfortunately has the later. Just listen to him talk and do interviews, it's always about how great he is or how much he's improved if it's not that it's him telling the media they have the wrong idea. He needs to take the criticism and make an effort to turn himself into an elite hockey player that can make that next step to the NHL. The reason he hasn't cracked the Leafs roster is because he doesn't really believe he needs to make the changes they want him too in order to play, if he did those changes would have been made immediately when he was asked.
While many fans were upset with the way the Leafs organization has handled their top prospect by constantly calling him out and critiquing him, the truth is they have every right to do so. They're fed up with him not doing what he's been asked. I reiterate my point about he should be one of the top scorers in the AHL but he's not!
Time is quickly running out for the former first round pick. He's getting a bad reputation and is losing trade value. Many have pegged him as a career "minor leaguer". If he doesn't get his act together now he may go down as one of the biggest busts in Leafs history.
Kadri's reaction to all this?
@sportsgurl87 settle down little girl i got this
— Nazem Kadri (@43_Kadri) September 28, 2012
What are your thoughts about Nazem Kadri; Have the Leafs been too harsh on him, does he have what it takes to make the NHL?