The Toronto Maple Leafs have trimmed their roster and, as expected highly touted prospect Nazem Kadri will start the season in the AHL with the Marlies.
After a spectacular camp last year where he was among the final cuts, the 19-year old struggled in pre-season.
"There are very few guys (at his age) that are ready to step in and make a contribution like we need him to make," Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke told reporters Monday.
"He's got to play on our top six (forwards) if he's going to stay here. And he's got to respect the American Hockey League, it's a hell of a league.
"I told him I gave (star Anaheim Ducks forward) Ryan Getzlaf the same speech five years ago."
Burke told reporters that he believes that the demotion will help Kadri's development in the long run.
"I think Nazem has accepted what's gone on here, that he's made his own bed," Burke told the CANADIAN PRESS. "He's been very mature about it. I think he's been wonderful with you folks (the media), dealing with all this stuff. And if I could go back to the draft and you give me the microphone again, I would take Nazem Kadri again.
Joining Kadri on the Marlies will be forwards Christian Hanson, Luca Caputi and goaltender Jussi Rynnas. Defenceman Danny Richmond also sent out a message to his followers on Twitter (@D_Richmond02) that he had been placed on waivers, a move that was later confirmed by the team in a press release. Joining Richmond on waivers were forwards Jay Rosehill and Mike Zigomanis.
AHL journeyman Tim Brent avoided the axe with a strong pre-season campaign and has likely earned himself a spot on the third line.
The cuts mean that the Leafs now have 14 forwards, 10 defencemen and two goaltenders remaining in camp. They must reduce their roster to 23 total by the Oct. 6 deadline. The Leafs open the regular season on Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens.