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NHL Toronto Maple Leafs

Time for Toronto Maple Leafs to Pay Nazem Kadri

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

There was a lot to like about the Toronto Maple Leafs this past season. The final game of the season was something to forget obviously, but the emergence of one player in particular during this shortened season should give Toronto fans something to be excited about. Nazem Kadri turned into a star this season with 44 points in 48 games. He had never scored more than 12 points in a season before this year and at 22 years old could be turning the corner.

Kadri scored on nearly 17% of his shots this season, and while that was lower than he had the previous year, you can’t complain about a player who scores 18 goals. The Maple Leafs have another star in Phil Kessel who can take some of the pressure off of a young player like Kadri which is much needed. Next season is going to be a very big one for Kadri in my opinion. He is going to need to prove that he can be a consistent player who scores around a point a game.

If he can do it for a full 82-game season, I will have more confidence in his ability moving forward. This was also the first season where he played in every game as well. We will have to see what direction the Maple Leafs go with Kadri because they have a player that could be a cornerstone of the organization for years to come. He is a restricted free agent this offseason, and the team must find a way to get Kadri a nice new deal to indicate his ability.

Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports, like his Facebook page or add him to your network on Google.