Sports Leafs’ Nazem Kadri enjoying offensive resurgence with Mitch Marner on his wing

17:22  12 february  2018
17:22  12 february  2018 Source:   thestar.com

MAILBAG: Who are the Leafs going to get at the deadline?

  MAILBAG: Who are the Leafs going to get at the deadline? MAILBAG: Who are the Leafs going to get at the deadline?This season is not over, and I can already feel fans looking forward to next season, when anyone over 30 is discarded. Except Ron Hainsey and Patrick Marleau.

It seems Nazem Kadri is always going to be front and centre with the Maple Leafs, one way or another.

He was surrounded by media after the Leafs’ 6-3 win over Ottawa on Saturday, in part because he is one of the better quotes in the dressing room. But he was also in the middle of what might have been the most dominating performance by a Leafs line this season.

Kadri and wingers Mitch Marner and Patrick Marleau combined for 10 points while posting ridiculous numbers in terms of possession, shots and shot attempts. The line had better than 80-per-cent puck control while on the ice at even strength and produced a combined 26 shot attempts. Kadri directed 11 at the net in the first period alone. And Marner, of course, finished with a career-high five-point night.

Mitch Marner is not a prospect

  Mitch Marner is not a prospect ***ImagePlaceholder*** https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/XMwO2N_V10F6RVbrYTMmA1wR5y8=/0x0:3453x1942/1920x1080/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/58570409/usa_today_10579246.0.jpg Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports When you make your “pick and a prospect” fantasy trades, it helps if you first know what a prospect is. It’s that time of the year again! It’s time for fantasy trades, trade speculation, trade rumours and arguments about all of the above. You need to know the players on the scorecard before you start making deals, though.One of the stock NHL trade deadline deals is a pick and a prospect for a rental.

That line, put together almost three weeks ago, has the potential to give the Leafs a top shut-down unit with premier scoring power. That would be similar to the Bruins’ trio of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak, one of the top-two way lines in the NHL. Boston seems like a likely first-round playoff opponent for the Leafs.

Just as important, the Kadri line now will make it doubly tough for opposing coaches to focus their attention on the Auston Matthews line. As Senators coach Guy Boucher noted Saturday, “I wouldn’t say our focus was on Matthews . . . if you sit in the office and look at (the Leafs) lineup, (there is) high, high-end depth on all four lines, and that’s why they’re such a good team.”

The success of the new line is something of a reward for Kadri after a tough December, during which he didn’t have a point in 11 games. Still, his slumps been tempered the last couple of seasons by the fact he has evolved into the Leafs’ main shut-down centre. That often comes at the expense of offensive output.

3 up, 3 down: Nazem Kadri has rediscovered his scoring touch

  3 up, 3 down: Nazem Kadri has rediscovered his scoring touch Welcome to the fantasy hockey stock market. Each week we will look at three players trending up and three players trending down. Three Up Nazem Kadri – C – Maple Leafs – 17 Goals, 14 Assists, 131 Shots, 52 GamesAt the depths of Kadri’s mid-season slump, we recommended trying to buy low on Kadri. It was only a matter of time before he rediscovered his scoring touch. It took a reimagining of the lines, pairing Mitch Marner with Kadri to get the centreman going, but he is now on a five-game scoring streak.

He has 18 goals and 35 points through 55 games this season and is unlikely to match last year’s career highs of 32 goals and 61 points. But he is a plus player for the first time since becoming a full-season regular in the Leafs’ lineup in 2012-13.

And, with what appears to be a developing chemistry with Marner and the veteran presence of Marleau, Kadri is back on the scoresheet with renewed vigour. He has nine points in the eight games since Marner joined the line.

As for the unit as a whole? Twenty-four points, 79 shots, a plus-17 rating, and a 7-1 record for the team.

Leafs centre Nazem Kadri, right, has nine points in the eight games since Mitch Marner joined his line.© Frank Gunn Leafs centre Nazem Kadri, right, has nine points in the eight games since Mitch Marner joined his line.

“We just seem to generate offensive opportunities. I think we’ve been responsible and playing good defence, which is translating to good offensive opportunities. We’ve been able to cash in when we get them,” Kadri said.

Marner with five points, Leafs beat Senators

  Marner with five points, Leafs beat Senators Marner with five points, Leafs beat SenatorsMarner became the first Leafs skater to record five points in a game since Tomas Kaberle, who did it on Oct. 26, 2009.

“(Marner has) speed, he’s got skill, he’s the whole package and, game by game, it seems like he’s getting more and more responsible. He’s a guy that we’re going to rely on. He’s been playing well.

“It just felt like we had the puck a lot and playing a lot of offence (on Saturday). Obviously, as offensive players, we start to get in a groove, especially if you start to feel a bit of a rhythm early on in the first period. We were able to capitalize on our first or second shift and took off from there.”

Leafs roster jam clouds NHL trade deadline outlook .
The Maple Leafs’ approach to the trade deadline has taken on an added consideration this season: What to do with a logjam of players on the NHL roster?While the Feb. 26 deadline approaches and the Leafs ponder the market, they must make a roster move once winger Nikita Soshnikov comes off injured reserve. Soshnikov finished up a five-game conditioning stint with the American Hockey League’s Marlies on the weekend, but there’s no room for him at the NHL level at the moment.Soshnikov was left on IR for the time being, even though he impressed in five games with the Marlies — scoring two goals, adding three assists and logging 17 shots on goal.

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