At the end of the Leafs’ training camp, rookie Nazem Kadri was deemed unworthy of sticking with the franchise. Now, he’s been installed as the club’s No. 1 centre, charged with invigorating the club’s franchise player.

In his eighth NHL game since his banishment to the Marlies was commuted, Kadri will line up as the top pivot with an inconsistent Phil Kessel to his right. Clarke MacArthur will skate on the left side against Tampa Bay tonight.

Other than for a few shifts, Kadri has been playing on the wing in his seven big-league games this season, often on a line with centre Tyler Bozak and Kessel. But with Kessel mostly struggling — he has just three goals in his last 14 games — and Kadri in possession of impressive playmaking skills, coach Ron Wilson opted to move the 20-year-old to his natural position.

There, he will have the puck on his stick more often. And, the theory goes, get it to Kessel in scoring position more often. For a team with the third worst offence in the NHL, it couldn’t hurt.

“(Kadri) seems to have played fine at the wing. Now the challenge is: Can he be creative offensively without being a real detriment defensively? I think he understands that and what his little challenge is right now,” said Wilson.

MacArthur, a good goal scorer himself, is on the line because he is the most defensively responsible of the trio.