A very happy Nazem Kadri was roaring around the ice on Wednesday morning, called back to the Maple Leafs during an injury crisis.
With two players going on injured reserve in as many days (Colby Armstrong with a concussion and broken toe, Philippe Dupuis with an undisclosed upper body issue), Kadri followed Darryl Boyceís recall on Tuesday night from the Marlies.
Kadri was skating on a line with centre Tim Connolly and right winger Clarke MacArthur, in Armstrongís old spot.
If Kadri can help the Leafs escape a mid-December funk, he will earn himself a longer stay. Leafs host Buffalo Thursday.
But the interesting aspect is that Kadriís defensive play has been his biggest hinderance to full-time NHL employment and thatís what the Leafs are lacking right now. Plus Joe Colborne did not get the call ahead of Kadri, when he was the victim of a numbers game earlier this month that saw him returned ó so there could be an ulterior motive to showcase Kadri for a trade.
Kadri and the Marlies werenít exactly lighting it up in their past three games, getting one goal in consecutive losses. But he shares the club scoring lead with Marcel Mueller and Mike Zigomanis with 22 points each.
Kadriís eight goals and 14 assists included three power-play goals and a minus four. He was the AHLís player of the month in November.
In his first stint with the Leafs this year, he had an assist in three games.