This offseason, the Colorado Avalanche made a concerted effort to address its depth up front, including acquiring center Nazem Kadri from the Toronto Maple Leafs
Avs head coach Jared Bednar, joining “The Drive” on Monday, touted the experience, scoring ability and “grit” Kadri adds to his team’s lineup, making it easier to depart with defensemen Tyson Barrie and forward Alexander Kerfoot, who went out East in the trade with Toronto.
“That’s a big void in our lineup that we’ve had, so I feel like we filled the need with that trade,” Bednar said.
(Bednar’s interview with “The Drive” starts at the 32-minute mark)
But, with Kadri’s experience and potential comes some baggage as well.
The 29-year-old is no stranger to the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, having been suspended for illegal hits to the head five times during his decade in the league.
Most recently, Kadri earned a five-game ban during the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs after cross-checking winger Jake DeBrusk during Game 2 of Toronto’s first-round match up with the Boston Bruins.
The previous year, Kadri received a three-game suspension for boarding then-Bruins forward Tommy Wingels during Game 1 of the Boston-Toronto opening-round postseason series.
That brings us to Thursday, when the Avalanche welcome in the Bruins for the only time this season at Pepsi Center.
Talking with the media on Monday, Bednar said he expected Kadri — who’s nursing a sore foot after taking a shot to the skate on Saturday — to play Thursday against Boston, along with several other players who skipped practice.
But should Kadri play?
With a built-in, face-saving excuse, like a foot injury, the Avs could rest the talented center while also avoiding any on-ice shenanigans that could land him on the bench for several games — at least until the teams play again in Boston on Dec. 7.
But Bednar told “The Drive” he doesn’t expect any incidents against the Bruins this week, that Kadri’s not only “highly competitive” but also a “real good pro.”
“He toes the line. His temper can run hot a little bit. But I think that’s a positive thing for me,” Bednar said. “I think you don’t want to have to try to coach the passion out of a player. You’d rather try to tone it down and have his teammates calm him down at times.
“And not just him, but any player at all.”
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