Kadri: 'I'm here to stay'

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:46 PM ET

TORONTO - In the summer of 2010, Nazem Kadri spent every ounce of energy he had to add the extra pounds the team felt he needed to be NHL-ready.

In the summer of 2011, he went the opposite way.

It’s all part of what has been a sharp and high-profile learning curve for the former first-rounder who enters his third pro training camp determined to stick.

“The first camp, I played pretty well (but as expected was sent back to junior). The second, I didn’t (which resulted in a demotion to the Marlies),” Kadri said on Friday.

“I think I gained too much weight last year. It definitely hurt me and I came to camp slow. That’s not the type of player I am. I like to do things at top speed.”

Whether he caved to pressure or came in with too much confidence, last year’s training camp was a disaster for Kadri.

But after some hard time on the farm and some nurturing from Marlies coach Dallas Eakins, Kadri looked less out of place when called up to the Leafs late last season.

He may enter camp as the front-runner for a spot on the third line, but as Kadri learned last season, he’ll have to earn it.

“He’s going to be competing with a number of guys for ice time,” coach Ron Wilson said. “He’s got to show that he’s physically strong enough, mentally tough enough.

“This is a process he’s going through and you can’t rush it.”

Kadri certainly sounded like he was motivated to take the decision out of Wilson’s hands hoping the benefits of a new summer workout regimen pay off.

“I’m coming in expecting there to be zero jobs left and for me to steal one,” Kadri said. “Obviously (to get demoted) would be extremely disappointing. I want to be a regular 82-plus-playoff games player in the NHL. That’s why I worked so hard this summer — to prove a point.

“Now I what to show everybody that I’m here to stay.”


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