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Nazem Kadri’s decision looms large

After holding out now for nearly two weeks, who knows what will happen with the centerman.

2022 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

We are nearing the two-week mark since the beginning of free agency on July 13. Nazem Kadri was one of many superstars that would be eyeing the market and seeing what was available to him. He still is eyeing the market to see if any team will meet his demands.

Still wanting a large 7x$9 AAV contract, Kadri still knows his worth and wants to continue to show it. He looks to be holding out for anyone that can pay him his desired worth and salary. There is plenty of drama that’s allowing this holdup to continue. Not too long ago, Elliotte Friedman stated on his podcast that the pool of teams had been narrowed down to three and eventually two, excluding the Winnipeg Jets from the list below.

There had also been rumblings that the Calgary Flames offered him a similar contract to what he was looking for, but that eventually was found to be false. However, Calgary may still play a big part in this act after losing both of their star players: Johnny Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers.

With both players going their separate ways out of Alberta, the Flames open up a lot of cap space. Even after receiving Johnathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar from the Florida Panthers, they still have a projected $9.3M, according to CapFriendly - to be paid to someone like Naz.

With the Flames’ situation, they may look bleak, but if they manage to pick up Kadri, it would lift their spirits and chances to make the playoffs again. Performing in them is another story, however. Kadri has talked about for the longest time since this decision to test free agency that he wanted to be on a competitive team, which some may argue Calgary doesn’t fall into said category.

This leads us back to the Colorado Avalanche - which will continue to have its championship window open for the next couple of years. Already looking to go back-to-back this upcoming season, it gives Kadri something to think about if he wants to be on said competitive team.

Kadri has seen the most success of his career in an Avalanche uniform. He’s just coming off of a career year that saw him raise the Stanely Cup even through racism and injury. Why change now? Why not continue with the atmosphere and environment you’re already aware of? That’s the argument some fans are making, and it’s not a bad one. He was loving life at the parade, but even then, his speech made it seem as if he was saying goodbye.

Colorado Avalanche Stanley Cup Championship Parade and Celebration Photo by Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

However, as we all know, it’s just not physically possible to keep Kadri with only $3.9M in cap space, according to CapFriendly. There would have to be some movement out of the organization to make it work. If Kadri gets paid a hefty deal, let’s say Chris MacFarland talks him down to a 6x$8.25M deal after moving a player like Sam Girard out of the team, it screws with the Avs’s future cap hits and future re-signings - specifically the new large deal that will make its way to Nathan MacKinnon.

The longer this holds out, the less likely it seems that the Avs will be able to retain the services of the 32-year-old centerman. Kadri has allegedly been holding out on making any decision waiting to see what the Avalanche can do to bring him back. Nazem and Colorado have their hands tied behind their back, waiting for the next move the other makes. Colorado would be forced to play a hand the front office may not want to make if they want to keep Kadri. Meanwhile, Naz’s options are dwindling on who will want to pay him so much money, let alone pay him that much on a competitive team.

Colodrado Avalanche annouce new head coach Jared Bednar Photo By John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Will Kadri double back and perhaps look to take less money and have more options available, or will he continue to hold strong and know his worth and have his demands met by a few teams, even if they aren’t competitive? Will Colorado break and make moves that make it financially possible to lure Naz back to Ball Arena? Kadri is the last “big name” left on the market after Tkachuk’s move late Friday night. He’s also holding up the rest of the center market for players such as Paul Stastny, waiting to see where No. 91 ends up going.

So, where does Naz end up? It’s up in the air at this point. The media seems dark about the Kadri situation, so we’re not getting many updates around this fluid situation. At this point, he could surprise us all and have a deal announced in the next few days, or we may have to wait until training camp in September.

If this is it for Naz’s time in Colorado, it was a good run, and he at least got his Cup. If Kadri does come back, will it be worth it? Will be up to the same level he was at last season? Where do we think/hope it’ll be if he walks away? Will we look at him in the same light as we did here in Colorado? Let us know all of that and more in the comments below.