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Nazem Kadri signs with Calgary Flames

The Stanley Cup champ goes North of the border once again.

Colorado Avalanche v Calgary Flames Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

The Nazem Kadri saga is finally over. The Lebanese-born centerman finally made his choice in the middle of August, where he’ll play hockey for the foreseeable future.

The winner of the Kadri lottery is the Calgary Flames, who will get the services of Kadri up in Alberta on a reported seven-year, $7 million AAV deal. The number is not as high as Kadri might’ve wished, but it is still way too high for what the Avs could’ve paid for him without moving anybody out of the organization.

As Kevin Weekes reports, Kadri will sign with the Flames and are looking to move another center off of their books, which is Sean Monohan. Monohan has subsequently been moved to the Montreal Canadiens to make room to sign Kadri. While some Avs fans may ask why they didn’t go for Monohan to fill that hole in the lineup, Monohan cost too much for the Avs to pay as well.

For Kadri, the 32-year-old is getting his bag after winning the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche last season. Kadri has been through a lot in the last year as an Avs player, with suspensions, injuries, racism, and resilience all thrown his way. He climbed the mountain and got what he deserved, being the first Islam-born player to lift the Cup.

For the Avs, it was always going to be extremely hard to re-sign their centerman for the previous three seasons. With a large contract coming Nathan MacKinnon’s way along with the big check some guys like J.T. Compher and Erik Johnson, it was dry on the financial side for the Avs. Unless one of the previous two names were moved, Kadri wasn’t likely to come back to Colorado.

The departure from Kadri leaves some big shoes to fill in the second-line center position for the Avs. It has been said in the past from the Avalanche front office that the Avs would be looking at internal options to fill that gap. These options include Alex Newhook and Compher moving up to fill the hole. There’s also the possibility of Mikko Rantanen moving down permanently to the center position as he did a few times last season.

Edmonton Oilers v Colorado Avalanche - Game One Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Unfortunately, the market is pretty dried up at the moment for the Avs to even make any sort of move compared to where it was a month ago at the start of the trade deadline on July 13. The options that do remain include Paul Stastny who could perhaps come back to Colorado towards the end of his career. They could look elsewhere to make moves to get the second-line center position filled, but who knows who it would be and when.

The Avs need to consider the financial side of things, however. As mentioned earlier, MacKinnon will get a new large deal soon that will mostly be filled by the end of Erik Johnson’s contract next year. After that, Newhook is an RFA himself as well as Bowen Byram, and Compher will be a UFA too. The front office has their work cut out for them in the next 12 months. In Joe we trust, even if he’s not fully involved in movements anymore.

2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

So, what do they do now after Kadri’s departure out of Colorado? Let us know in the comments below!