TORONTO - The NHL trade deadline is approaching, but have the Maple Leafs finally found the first-line centre they have craved for so long?
Nazem Kadri may not be there yet, but the teamís leading scorer is well on the way to being the complete player his coach Randy Carlyle demands of him, an evolution no more in evidence than in Wednesdayís large 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Stalled in a five-game winless streak that had seen the Eastern Conference playoff contenders close in on them, the Leafs were approaching desperation for a win.
Kadri didnít do it all by himself, but he was a factor at both ends of the Air Canada Centre ice in what may have been his most complete game of the season.
Not only did he have a career-high three-assist night to punch his way into the top 15 of the NHL scoring race, he was matched against one of the leagueís true snipers, Steven Stamkos (tied for second), who was held pointless against the Leafs and was a minus-2.