Nazem Samir Kadri (born October 6, 1990) is a Canadian professional ice hockey player. He plays centre currently playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL). He is the third Muslim to ever play in the NHL. Drafted by the Maple Leafs seventh overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft made him the first Muslim to be drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs. He played his junior career in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with first the Kitchener Rangers and then the London Knights, the former of which he won the J. Ross Robertson Cup with and represented in the 2008 Memorial Cup, ultimately losing in the final to the Spokane Chiefs. Kadri has also represented Canada internationally at the 2010 World Junior Championships, where the team won the silver medal.
Kadri is known for his strong penalty drawing abilities; since the 2013 season, Kadri has led the league in penalties drawn with 164, 46 more than the second place player, Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings.
Kadri grew up playing minor hockey for the London Jr. Knights of the MHAO's AAA Pavilion League. He was a key member of MHAO championship teams at the Peewee, Bantam and Minor Midget levels before moving onto the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in 2006–07. He participated in the 2003 All-Ontario Peewee Championships in Markham, Ontario, as well as the 2005 All-Ontario Bantam Championships in Thunder Bay.
Kadri began his OHL career with the Kitchener Rangers after being selected in the first round, 18th overall, of the 2006 OHL Priority Selection. During his second season in the OHL, he played 68 games, scoring 25 goals and adding 40 assists. During that year's playoffs, Kadri helped the Rangers to an OHL Championship and a berth in the Memorial Cup Final, where they lost to the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
After the 2007–08 season was complete, Kadri was traded by the Rangers to the London Knights, his hometown team, for a package of draft picks. He played in 56 games for the Knights in 2008–09, where he scored 25 goals and added 53 assists. Kadri lost time during the 2008–09 season, however, when he suffered a broken jaw. He was selected to play for Team OHL in the ADT Canada Russia Challenge, but was unable to participate due to jaw injury. Kadri was later invited to Canada's selection camp for the 2009 World Junior Championships, but did not make the final roster. Additionally during the 2008–09 season, Kadri was chosen to play in the OHL All-Star Classic, where he suited up for the Western Conference and scored a goal.
After the OHL season was complete, Kadri was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, seventh overall, of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He later signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the club on July 6, 2009.
After being cut from the Maple Leafs, Kadri returned to play for the Knights in the OHL. He was selected to play for Team OHL in the 2009 Subway Super Series (renamed from the ADT Canada Russia Challenge). He was also selected to represent the Western Conference in the 2009–10 OHL All-Star Classic, his second appearance in the league's All-Star Game in as many seasons. On March 30, 2010 Kadri was named the CHL Player of the Week after recording nine points (two goals and seven assists) in three games. The OHL named Kadri the league's Player of the Month for April 2010, a month in which he recorded 26 points (nine goals and 17 assists) in ten games.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Kadri attended training camp with the Maple Leafs prior to the 2009–10 season. He played in six pre-season games with the club, in which he scored three goals and added two assists. Then-Toronto Head Coach Ron Wilson had said prior to training camp that Kadri would need to be one of the team's top-six forwards to make the club; Kadri was ultimately returned to the Knights prior to the start of the NHL regular season.
Due to injuries to forwards Christian Hanson and Fredrik Sjöström, Kadri was called up to the Maple Leafs under an emergency basis, making his NHL debut on February 8, 2010, against the San Jose Sharks. He did not register any points and finished with a −1 plus-minus rating. This was a one game-only call up, and he subsequently returned to the London Knights following the game. Ron Wilson said he will most likely be with the Leafs in the 2010–11 season, though this was in doubt after comments made by both Wilson and Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke during the pre-season, indicating Kadri had not played to the level they expected and is "running out of time" to prove himself. In addition, Burke was traditionally a strong supporter of rookies gaining experience at the American Hockey League (AHL) level prior to NHL careers. Kadri was included in the Maple Leafs' last round of cuts, and was subsequently sent to the American Hockey League (AHL)'s Toronto Marlies for the start of the season. On November 12, however, Kadri was called up by the Maple Leafs, along with fellow prospect Keith Aulie. On November 16, Kadri recorded his first NHL point against the Nashville Predators, assisting on a goal by Kris Versteeg. Two days later, on November 18, Kadri recorded his first multi-point night with two assists in a game against the New Jersey Devils.
On March 19, 2011, Kadri scored his first career NHL goal against goaltender Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins. He was named to the AHL All-Star Game in 2012. Prior to 2012–13 season, Kadri began training under former NHL player and Maple Leaf Gary Roberts over the summer to gain muscle and "play more explosively." On January 19, 2013, when NHL play resumed after a labour lock-out cancelled much of the first half of the scheduled regular season, Kadri made the starting roster for the Maple Leafs in their season opener against the Montreal Canadiens. He would score the first Maple Leafs goal of the season with a powerplay mark assisted by Phil Kessel against goaltender Carey Price. Kadri finished the game named the game's first star. A month later, in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Kadri had his first NHL fight with Tampa's Victor Hedman. With the Leafs losing 4–1 late in the game, Hedman delivered a cross-check to the back of Kadri, who then confronted the 6'6 defenceman. Punches were then exchanged before teammates and officials broke up the fight. On February 28, Kadri scored his first career hat-trick in a 5–4 win over the New York Islanders. On March 30, he then scored his second career hat-trick, and second of the season, in a 4–0 win over the Ottawa Senators. He would finish the season with 18 goals and 26 assists, finishing second only to Phil Kessel for the team lead in points and goals. On May 4, Kadri notched his first Stanley Cup playoff point, recording an assist on a goal by Kessel after Kadri sprung him on a breakaway. On May 13, he then scored his first playoff goal against the Boston Bruins in Game 7 during the third period.
On September 11, 2013, Kadri was signed by Toronto to a two-year, $5.8 million contract extension. On November 13, 2013, Kadri delivered an elbow to the head of Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Bäckström. As a result, the NHL's Department of Player Safety handed Kadri a three-game suspension.
During the 2013–14 season, his first full 82-game season, Kadri set career highs in goals (20) and points (50).
Kadri was suspended twice during the 2014–15 season, the first internally by the organization for showing up late to a team practice; he received a three-game suspension. One week later, Kadri was suspended again, this time by the NHL itself; he received four games for illegally checking Edmonton Oilers forward Matt Fraser in the head. Despite these setbacks, Kadri would go on to record 39 points in 73 games, leading all Toronto centres in goals. He was subsequently signed to a one-year, $4.1 million deal in the summer.
On April 1, 2016, Kadri was fined $5,000 by the NHL for his second and third diving infractions of the season. The first came March 12 against the Senators and the second March 21 against the Flames. On April 4, 2016, Kadri was again suspended by the NHL after he delivered a cross-check to the head of Detroit Red Wings centre Luke Glendening. Kadri received a four-game suspension for the incident, effectively ending his season, and as a repeat offender under the collective bargaining agreement he was also fined $200,000. Despite these misdemeanors, Kadri's play throughout the season was strongly praised by Leafs managements, most notably head coach Mike Babcock and general manager Lou Lamoriello. On top of this, Kadri was heavily praised for his penalty drawing abilities; although he was always complimented on this skill, it received much more media attention this season, with Kadri setting a league leading best 49 penalties drawn during the season. Additionally, Kadri led the Maple Leafs in various offensive categories, including points (45) and assist (28). In reward for his strong year, Kadri was rewarded with a six-year, $27 million contract on April 13, 2016.
Kadri played for Team Ontario at the 2007 Canada Winter Games, where they won a gold medal. He first represented Canada at the 2007 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, where the team finished fourth. Kadri was invited to Canada's selection camp for the 2010 World Junior Championships held in Regina, Saskatchewan. After being cut in 2009, Kadri was selected to represent Canada in 2010. In Canada's preliminary round game against the United States, Kadri was one of the players selected for the shootout, scoring on goaltender Jack Campbell to help Canada secure the victory.
During the tournament, Kadri scored three goals and added five assists. During the tournament, Kadri attracted attention for his refusal to shake hands with Switzerland's Nino Niederreiter after their semi-final game. Kadri did not elaborate on the specifics of what caused his refusal, but did absolve Niederreiter of using an ethnic slur: "Obviously, in big games like that, guys tend to lose their composure a bit, but I didn't take offence to anything he said. It was just that I felt like I didn't have to shake his hand." Kadri later had second thoughts about his refusal, stating, "I regret it a little bit." During the gold medal game against the United States, Kadri had two assists including one on Jordan Eberle's game-tying goal with 1:35 left in the third period. Canada, however, lost the game in overtime, leaving Kadri and his teammates with the silver medal.
Kadri began skating when he was two, began playing organized hockey when he was four, and was suiting up for elite level teams when he was six.
Kadri's parents are Sam and Sue, and he has four sisters: Yasmine, Sabrine, Reema and Rayanne. Kadri is named after his grandfather. Sam Kadri moved to Canada when he was four from the small town of Kfar Danis, Lebanon. Nazem is an Arab and Muslim-Canadian, and says he has never run into any issues on the ice with "trash talking" concerning his religious beliefs. Kadri was the first Muslim drafted by the Maple Leafs. In high school, Kadri served as a member of his school's Muslim Student Association. Kadri is the fourth player of Lebanese descent to play in the NHL, following in the footsteps of John Hanna, Alain Nasreddine and Ed Hatoum. He grew up as a Montreal Canadiens fan.
Awards and achievements
Regular season and playoffs
|2005–06||London Jr. Knights Min. Midget||MHAO||62||49||43||92||82||—||—||—||—||—|
|2009–10||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||1||0||0||0||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|2010–11||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||29||3||9||12||8||—||—||—||—||—|
|2011–12||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||21||5||2||7||8||—||—||—||—||—|
|2012–13||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||48||18||26||44||23||7||1||3||4||10|
|2013–14||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||78||20||30||50||67||—||—||—||—||—|
|2014–15||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||73||18||21||39||28||—||—||—||—||—|
|2015–16||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||76||17||28||45||73||—||—||—||—||—|