Nazem Kadri joins Toronto Maple Leafs

TORONTO -- The goal-starved Toronto Maple Leafs have called up prized prospect Nazem Kadri from the AHL's Toronto Marlies.

They also recalled defenseman Keith Aulie, while sending forward Christian Hanson and defenseman Korbinian Holzer back down to the Marlies.

The Leafs rank 29th in the NHL in offense, averaging only 2.13 goals per game. Fans and local media have been clamoring for weeks for the team to call up the 20-year-old Kadri, as has legendary CBC commentator Don Cherry.

Leafs general manager Brian Burke warned Kadri not to put too much pressure on himself after the call-up.

"I told him, 'You're not a savior here,' " Burke told reporters at the team's practice facility Friday.

Kadri, Toronto's first-round pick (seventh overall) in the 2009 NHL entry draft, had 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 14 AHL games this season. The Leafs sent him to the minors out of camp to work on his overall game.

"I think in an ideal world, if we would have won a few of the last games, we probably would have given him a little bit longer, but he has made the adjustments we've asked him to, he's cut down his turnovers," Burke said. "He's drawing penalties almost every night by getting hauled down. He's been responsible and he's been good offensively so he's made a lot of the transformations that we needed him to make. In an ideal world, maybe another couple weeks, maybe three weeks, but it's not an ideal world. We're scuffling here."

The struggling Leafs are winless in their past seven games (0-5-2). Burke said he also addressed the players directly.

"My view on this group is I still believe in this group," Burke said. "The same group went 4-0 and then has scuffled recently. I believe in the group. I believe we put together a character group of people who can get the job done. But that doesn't mean we're not going to utilize the assets we have in the organization when we can. I think these are the guys that are doing the job best down there and that's why they're here."