Just like all the Insiders (TM) said, Nazem Kadri is going to the…Calgary Flames.
Despite plenty of hockey media saying it was a done deal that Kadri would sign with the New York Islanders, the now former Colorado Avalanche center signed a new seven-year, $49 million contract with the Flames not too long ago. It is the same Calgary Flames team that Kadri nixed a trade to three years ago when the Toronto Maple Leafs wanted to send him there. Instead, he came to the Avalanche and was a Stanley Cup hero.
But those are just memories now for Avalanche fans. Calgary traded center Sean Monahan to Montreal to gain some cap space for Kadri. The Flames lost top forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk recently, but have now replaced them with Kadri and Jonathan Huberdeau.
The Avalanche, meanwhile, now have a gaping hole at the No. 2 center spot in their lineup. A potential replacement is former center Paul Stastny, still unsigned. Or, the Avalanche might try to convert Mikko Rantanen to a full-time center, though that is seen as unlikely.
The Avalanche, my sources maintain, could only give Kadri a short-term offer – maybe only a one-year offer. Kadri, an unrestricted free agent for the first time, coming off a career year, took the higher offer – and nobody can begrudge him that.
Kadri was a huge part of the Avalanche’s Cup success, posting 87 points in 71 games, and scoring more clutch goals in the playoffs – including the OT winner in Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning despite playing with a broken thumb.
The Avalanche, according to PuckPedia, have only $2.4 million in open cap space right now. Why it took so long for Kadri to sign a new deal? We’ll have to wait for his introductory press conference – as a Flame.
Hey, I do have a tweet from July 14 saying I’d heard the Flames were heavily in on Kadri:
Calgary going hard on Kadri now.
— Adrian Dater (@adater) July 14, 2022
Wish I’d stuck with that line of thinking more…