Leafs always on Kadri's mind

Nazem Kadri pauses at the Leafs Prospects camp. (Veronica Henri/QMI AGENCY)

Nazem Kadri pauses at the Leafs Prospects camp. (Veronica Henri/QMI AGENCY)

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:09 PM ET

TORONTO - He tried not to let it show, but Nazem Kadri was crushed when he didn’t make the Maple Leafs last October.

Kadri is done with sulking about it, however. And if anything, the 19-year-old intends to be mentally stronger to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“It’s pretty much an everyday thing,” Kadri said when asked about how badly he wants to be in Blue and White this fall. “I’ve been working on this dream since I was a little kid, so how can you not think about it?

“It’s something I really want.”

Even though he is the big blue-chipper at this week’s prospect camp, Kadri doesn’t intend to play the big-timer. Enough eyes are on him that he can be put back in his place in a hurry.

“It’s just a stepping stone really,” Kadri said. “To make the NHL, I learned last year that you have to make it in levels. This is a start, then there is rookie camp, then the main camp, then the preseason games.”

Like the rest of the 31 prospects at the camp this week — including the top pick at last month’s entry draft, Bradley Ross — Kadri will participate in all the drills just as he did a year ago. That included talks Monday from a sports psychologist as well as general manager Brian Burke.

Coach Ron Wilson won’t be here, but he’s not out of mind. Kadri is well award of Wilson’s comments at the end of last season that he expects the London, Ont., native to be a factor this fall.

“I know he’s going to give me every opportunity,” Kadri said. “I just have to capitalize.”


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