Looking to break out of their current slump and perhaps send a message to underachieving players, the Toronto Maple Leafs have called up forward Nazem Kadri and defenceman Keith Aulie from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League on Friday.
Kadri has five goals and nine assists for 14 points in 14 games with the Marlies this season. Leafs President and GM Brian Burke along with Head Coach Ron Wilson made the decision to send Kadri to the AHL prior to the regular season, in order to further develop his all-around game.
The Leafs selected Kadri in the first round (seventh overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft. He has one regular season game under his belt, which took place due to an emergency call-up from the OHL last season. A remarkable junior career with both the Kitchener Rangers and the London Knights, kadri tallied 92 goals and 166 assists for 258 points in 242 career games.
“I have to be dedicated,” Kadri said last month. “I’m willing to learn and do anything I can to be a better player. I know I have a lot of things to work on. This is a developmental league and I’m willing to work hard and do whatever it takes.”
Keith Aulie was acquired from the Calgary Flames in the trade that brought Captain Dion Phaneuf to Toronto. In 14 games with the Marlies this season, the 6’5″ defenceman has one goal and three assists, and has been a physical presence on the back end.
Forward Christian Hanson and defenceman Korbinian Holzer have been re-assigned to the Marlies, making space for the surprising roster change.
Kadri and Aulie could find their way into the struggling Leafs lineup as early as Saturday when the Toronto hosts the Vancouver Canucks. At practice on Friday, Ron Wilson had Kadri placed on a line with Tyler Bozak and Nikolai Kulemin.
About the Author
Written by RJ Emptage
Operations Manager of a retail chain in Southern Ontario (Sports Obsession). Specialize in licensed sports apparel and novelties (Visit sportsobsession.ca). Being from the Hamilton area I grew up and into a die-hard Toronto Maple Leaf Fan, and look forward to a bright blue and white future...(I know that sounds crazy doesn't it?) Love all things sports and the next best thing to playing them, is talking them!