On the next night of his NHL life, Nazem Kadri found himself not with a highlight quality goal, but the puck in the back of the net just the same.

Add an assist in the 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night at the Air Canada Centre and it was tough not to make the 22-year-old the talking point in his next chance to shine following last week’s hat trick against the New York Islanders.

The more he scores, after all, the more the mild caution put forth by his general manager earlier in the day will be difficult to heed.

Kadri’s ninth goal of the season was far from a thing of beauty — an attempted pass to Leo Komarov that was deflected by Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg into his own net. The assist on Clarke MacArthur’s game winner in the third period was easier on the eyes though, giving Kadri 23 points and on a point-a-game clip in his breakout season.

“I’d like to put the brakes on ‘here comes the 100 points,” Leafs general manager David Nonis said earlier in the day, after praising Kadri for his continued development.

While Nonis certainly has a point, that might be easier said than done if Kadri continues to develop as the team’s leading scorer. But bigger than that, you might argue, is the fact that Leafs fans are beyond starved for a top draft pick to hit it big at the NHL level.

The Leafs are doing the right thing by attempting to dull the roar surrounding No. 43. But should Kadri remain atop the Leafs scoring race, he would be the first home-drafted player to end the season in that spot since Vincent Damphousse in the 1990-91 season.

Randy Carlyle has the same concerns as Nonis, but the way the Leafs coach has handled Kadri’s ups as well as his downs has been superb. On Monday night, he praised the kid for the obvious but doled out the caution necessary as he continues to develop.

“In the second period he goes one on four and that was the start of the onslaught of (turnovers),” Carlyle said. “Then there’s a two-minute shift and he still ends up being the fair-haired boy.