A depleted Toronto Maple Leafs forward unit soon could be minus another player.

The NHL's hockey operations department is taking a look at Nazem Kadri's throat-slashing gesture towards Mark Giordano after the Flames defenceman dazed Kadri with a hit in the first period of Tuesday night's 4-3 Calgary win at the Saddledome.

"There was emotion, I couldn't tell if it was a clean hit or not," Kadri told reporters. "I was told it was, but it certainly didn't feel like it. It [the throat slash] is something I don't really remember doing. I was in and out a little bit."

"I guess it's going to be reviewed [by the league], but it was an emotional reaction."

The 25-year-old Kadri was disciplined for the same gesture while playing for Canada in a game against Switzerland at the 2010 world junior hockey championship.

History shows Kadri could at least face a fine for his actions.

Chicago defenceman Nick Boynton was barred from the Blackhawks' season opener in 2010 after he made a throat-slashing gesture in a pre-season game.

In March 2000, Florida tough guy Peter Worrell repeatedly performed a throat-slashing gesture in the direction of Scott Niedermayer after the New Jersey Devils defenceman whacked the top of Worrell's helmet with his stick.

The NHL subsequently extended its prohibition against obscene gestures to include the throat-slash gesture, which is barred in the National Football League.

Toronto played Tuesday's contest without injured forwards Joffrey Lupul, Tyler Bozak and Shawn Matthias while James van Riemsdyk (foot) was already out.