Like the rest of the Dallas-centered hockey world, I've only watched Nazem Kadri play for Toronto from afar, and have been really impressed. Of course, after reading Josh Lile’s write-up on Kadri, and with respect to his very complementary analysis, I am very excited at the possibility of Kadri as a trade-target for Nill and Co. I'd love to see his speed and offensive ability in a Victory Green jersey. That said, the regular knock against him seems to be purely character related, and not due to any lack of skill, talent, hockey-IQ, etc. But, how much of his bad reputation is exaggerated and inflated, just like Seguin’s was? Is it purely media speculation, or is it substantiated?
If the doubts about Kadri’s character are reasonable, then the comparison to Seguin's situation in his last season in Boston is obvious. Clearly, the Stars have successfully grounded Seguin's supposed character issues, so much to our benefit, but what does that mean for a player like Kadri? Rather, since we had such resounding success with Seguin, the "problem" in Boston, does that mean that we are also well equipped to do the same for Kadri, the "one of a seemingly endless number of problems" in Toronto? I look at Patrick Kane’s development and meteoric rise to superstardom in Chicago for an example of a player that recently overcame substantial, unmistakable immaturity issues and character flaws in order to become a fantastic, regular contributor and professional, if not only with a bit more style and entertainment value than the average NHLer. The key to that success seemed to be a strong and secure team/organization, not unlike what Dallas is poised to become. I assume that the combination of Ruff's coaching, Benn's captaincy, Nill's organizational leadership, and similarly young, skilled players could smooth out the transition for Kadri, and create some welcomed stability for him, which I hope would be enough to set him on the best possible path to prolonged success in the NHL.
In short, I expect Kadri would be awesome as a 2C for the Dallas Stars for years to come. I’d bet that his "issues" are media-driven to an inflated weight, and if they aren’t, I’d bet that we can get more production from him than the Maple Leafs have –and be very happy with him, at that. Nill should definitely pursue acquiring him for the upcoming season.
This leaves (Leafs?) me to wonder about other "problem" players from around the league and how much to entertain the idea of buying in to any such sports-media bias, or whether or not more opportunities to acquire top-tier talent can be had if only the Stars, and their fans, are willing to bypass unfavorable media reports. Our revamped organization seems to be strong enough to take some risks, and certainly has confident, young leadership, along with a veteran coaching staff and front-office presence, capable of "fixing"some reputationally tarnished players, if their performance would be worth it. Obviously, we would stay away from the Matt Cookes of the world, or those with proven on-ice delinquencies, but maybe take a good look at guys like Nail Yakupov or Tyler Myers, and such.
Who else would the Stars pursue, if Dallas could acquire a player that is more than likely worth the hassle of dealing with a bad attitude or immaturity issue? Is it better to abstain altogether?