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Avalanche acquire Nazem Kadri, lose Tyson Barrie in blockbuster move

Colorado Avalanche v Toronto Maple Leafs

The Colorado Avalanche made the biggest swap of July 1st just as fans assumed everything was starting to settle down, sending cornerstone defender Tyson Barrie and up-and-coming forward Alex Kerfoot to the Toronto Maple Leafs for elite antagonizing center Nazem Kadri and defender Calle Rosen.

Also included in the deal are a 2020 6th round pick heading to Toronto, while the Avalanche are receiving a 2020 3rd round pick and retaining 50% of Tyson Barrie’s salary.

The deal comes in the wake of months — even years, it seems — of rumors surrounding Barrie on the trading block. The return brings in a less-desirable defender in Rosen, who spent the majority of the 2018-19 season in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies, but gives the Avalanche a significant upgrade down the middle with the acquisition of Kadri.

Drafted 7th overall by the Leafs in 2009, Nazem Kadri has long been one of the most mercurial players in the NHL. His off-ice antics have been shrouded in mystery for years, but resulted in a team-delivered suspension at one point during the 2014-15 season. And his on-ice antics have resulted in six collective suspensions and a fine over the course of his NHL career for everything from boarding to illegal hits to the head.

Despite his controversial headline-making ability, though, the 28-year-old London, Ontario native brings an impressive command of the game to the table as well. He’s hit the 20-goal mark three times and the 30-goal mark twice, racking up 161 goals and 357 points through 561 career NHL games. He’s the seventh-highest scoring player in his draft class, despite playing as a third line center for the last handful of years while the Leafs brought on Auston Matthews and John Tavares.

For the Avalanche, his two-way presence coupled with scoring ability give them an even better replacement for Carl Soderberg, who was shipped off to the Arizona Coyotes earlier this off-season. While Colorado did bring on Pierre-Edouard Bellemare earlier in the day on July 1st, the comparable between himself and Kadri isn’t even close; Kadri’s ability to play in all situations and score as much as he defends have earned him two Selke votes during his career and plenty of responsibility as he’s shuffled up and down the depth chart.

The Avalanche still need to address the contract extension for Mikko Rantanen — and now have Andre Burakovsky’s extension to consider, as well — but the team is still sitting pretty cap-wise. They have a little over $27 million in cap space to work with, and the cost-friendly deal that Kadri is on should help them tremendously moving forward (even while holding on to some of Barrie’s salary for this year).

If you want Toronto’s perspective on the trade, Hardev wrote the trade article over at Pension Plan Puppets. Go give it a peak, I hear they’re writing a big feature on Kadri right now.