Tyler Bozak believes his former Toronto Maple Leafs teammate Nazem Kadri will have little trouble transitioning to the Colorado Avalanche in the Central Division this season.
Bozak, who made the move to the Central with the eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues last summer, called Kadri an "unbelievable" addition to the Avalanche.
“He’s obviously a guy who is built for the Central Division. He plays hard. He plays tough. And he can put the puck in the net,” Bozak told the Denver Post on Monday. “He’s got great skills and he’s got that nasty streak that a lot of guys don’t like playing against. Anybody can use a player like that - a guy who can throw his body around, score big goals and get into it with the other guys, get under guys’ skin. A very good all-around player.”
Kadri was traded to the Avalanche last month along with defenceman Calle Rosen and a 2020 third-round pick for blueliner Tyson Barrie and forward Alexander Kerfoot. Kadri, 28, spent his entire with the Maple Leafs and called leaving Toronto "tough" after the deal was completed.
"It wasn't really my first choice," Kadri said of being traded. "But at the end of the day the Colorado Avalanche are going to be contenders for many, many years to come.
"That makes this a lot easier."
Kadri, who's expected to be a second-line centre for the Avalanche, scored just 16 goals last season after posting 32 in each of the previous two seasons. He said after the trade that he believes he can return to that level again in Colorado.
"Hitting the 30-goal mark back-to-back times, that's pretty tough to do in the NHL," Kadri said. "(I'm) feeling the best I ever have working for redemption next season."
The seventh-overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, Kadri is under contract for three more seasons at a $4.5 million cap hit.