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NHL New Jersey DevilsToronto Maple Leafs

Nazem Kadri Leads Toronto Maple Leafs past Struggling New Jersey Devils

Nazem Kadri (John E. Sokolowski - USA TODAY Sports)

John E. Sokolowski – USA TODAY Sports

Coming into tonight’s game, the New Jersey Devils had lost the last four games and made it five in a row, losing to the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-2

The win marks the Maple Leafs’ fifth win at home this season and rookie Nazem Kadri extended his point streak to five games with a goal and an assist on the night. Kadri now has 23 points in 23 games, to lead the team in points.

Kadri has shown his talent at every level he has played, however for some reason the Maple Leafs wouldn’t let him prove what he could do at the NHL level and kept sending him back to his junior team or the American Hockey League. In 2012-13, he has shown that his up and down career might have been a mistake and the Maple Leafs could’ve used him all along.

Drafted seventh overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Kadri attended training camp for the Maple Leafs prior to the 2009-10 season. In six preseason games, Kadri tallied five points on three goals and two assists. Following camp, Kadri was returned to his junior club, the London Knights.

Due to injuries to Christian Hanson and Fredrik Sjostrom, Kadri was recalled to the Maple Leafs on an emergency basis. He debuted against the San Jose Sharks on February 8, 2010. In the game he did not register a point and finished with a minus one. Following the game, Kadri was assigned back to the Knights.

After being part of the final round of cuts during the 2010-11 training camp, Kadri was assigned to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL to start the season. Not long afterwards the forward was called back up on November 16, 2010 and recorded his first NHL point on an assist against the Nashville Predators.

On January 19, 2013, Kadri finally made the Maple Leafs starting roster in their opening game against the Montreal Canadians. Kadri scored the first goal of the season for the Maple Leafs, on a power play goal beating Carey Price. On February 28, 2013, Kadri tallied his first career hat trick, in a 5-4 win over the New York Islanders.

Since the opening game, Kadri has registered 23 points on nine goals and 14 assists in the team’s 23 games, proving he will be force for years to come for the Maple Leafs. Kadri has five more points than second place, Phil Kessel.

Now that Kadri has been given his shot with the big club, he will show that he has the ability to skate with the best of the league.

Justin Soderberg is a Boston Red Sox writer for RantSports.com. In addition, Justin covers the NHL and NBA.  Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google. To read more articles from Justin Soderberg, click here