Day 6. Almost a week has gone by now, and lots of free agents have yet to put pen to paper on new contracts, Nazem Kadri being among the most conspicuously unsigned. It seems like everybody – maybe some of those other unsigned free agents – are waiting on him to make a decision where he wants to play.
It’s been assumed that he’s coming back to the Colorado Avalanche, and that the only thing holding up a happy return is the Avalanche trying to clear the necessary cap space to fit him in. I’m not so sure about that anymore. If I were laying odds on him coming back to the Avalanche, I’d probably put them at 30-70 now. Maybe 20-80.
Nazem Kadri is going to be just fine, and make a lot of money somewhere next season. But, based on what I’m starting to hear from a couple people around him, he’s growing frustrated at the situation. Kadri, it seems, hasn’t gotten the blowout offers he thought he might – and that includes from the Avalanche. The Avalanche are saying nothing at all about what’s going on. Zero.
So, he’s kind of sitting around, waiting still. He’s still got offers on the table from what I gather, but from teams he may not want to play for, either because of their location or their lack of contending status or both. Maybe a team or two that he wouldn’t mind playing for – and maybe wouldn’t mind having him – doesn’t have enough cap space.
The Avalanche? I think that’s still the most desired location and team. But I don’t think the offer on the table is exactly what he’d hoped. So, he’s still weighing his options. The Avalanche would put themselves over the cap by signing him and they would have to shed salary somehow by the final day of training camp.
After this coming season, guys needing new contracts include Nathan MacKinnon, Bo Byram and J.T. Compher. MacKinnon is likely to sign an extension to his current deal, but the cap hit won’t take effect until 2023-24. But it’s going to be a big number. I’m guessing about $11 million per. I just don’t think the Avalanche can give Kadri a really long-term deal, with everybody else on long-term deals as well – guys who are younger. If Kadri comes back, it might have to be on a short-term deal – and of course he’s going to want as much term as he can get. He can get more term with other teams, but he’ll know he has little hope of playing for another Stanley Cup anytime soon. So, here we are.
Like I said, Kadri will be just fine. But I’m not as much of an optimist anymore that he’ll be back. Hey, anything can happen still. Situations evolve and change rapidly in this business. I have to believe something will happen soon either way, as I doubt Kadri and other teams want to have their whole summer dragged down by this.
Colorado Hockey Now editor-in-chief Adrian Dater has covered the Avalanche since 1995