The Toronto Maple Leafs are currently 6-5 overall, and the biggest reason why the record isn’t any worse has been the play of Nazem Kadri and Matt Frattin.
Kadri and Frattin are first and second in team scoring with Kadri recording three goals and six assists while Frattin has delivered six goals and two assists. Kadri’s six assists also leads the team in that category while Frattin’s six goals has him tied with James van Riemsdyk for the team lead in goal scoring.
So far this season, Kadri has shown exactly why he was considered to have the potential to be an impactful offensive player while also managing to hold his own on the defensive end. A lot of credit is owned to Toronto Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins for helping the development of Kadri’s defensive game along with furthering his confidence offensively.
Unlike Kadri, Frattin didn’t make Toronto’s final roster entering the start of the season and was sent down to the Marlies. However, he was quickly called up after Joffrey Lupul went down with an injury, and Frattin hasn’t looked out of place in any of the eight games he’s played. Averaging a point per game is impressive for the 25 year old but his most significant stat has to be his plus four rating in the plus/minus category that is second best on the team.
The two players had chemistry together on the Marlies and while playing on the same line with the Maple Leafs, they’ve only continued what they started in the minors. In fact, Randy Carlyle had so much confidence in his youngsters, they were even on the ice in the final minute of the team’s 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
Nobody at the start of the season would have thought for a second that Kadri and Frattin would be on the ice together in the final minute, trying to protect a one goal lead. However, it just goes to show how well the two have performed early in the season. It also goes to show how much confidence a defensive coach like Carlyle has in his two forwards.
Given how well Kadri and Frattin have played, it’d be scary to think where the Maple Leafs would be without the up-and-coming duo.