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Dreaming of a Nazem Kadri return to the Avs

One can dream, right?

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

Calgary is going up in flames.

With the Calgary Flames cleaning up shop both on and off the ice, things are looking bleak in Alberta. Moving on from head coach Darryl Sutter and general manager Brad Trevling was meant to be a culture change and help the team move forward. But, it may have done the opposite.

Almost everyone is requesting a trade or not re-signing for the Flames. Having already lost Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk last summer, reports of Noah Hanifin, Tyler Toffoli, Mikael Backlund, and Elias Lindholm won’t re-sign. Most of their roster is not signed beyond 2025. Already in cap hell, the Flames are in real trouble and could be hosting a fire sale.

With said fire sale, why not dream of a return to the Mile High City for Nazem Kadri?

Kadri left the Colorado Avalanche as a free agent for Calgary after winning the Stanley Cup the year before in a career year. His new deal was a seven-year, $7M deal which would keep him in Calgary until he was 38 - something the Avs weren’t able to sign him to.

He regressed last year - as did almost every Flames player - with 24 goals and 32 assists playing in all 82 games. He wasn’t able to nearly mesh as well with his teammates, and with all of them wanting to leave may will him to want to leave too - waiving his no-move clause in the process.

Unfortunately, this wish is much harder to make a reality after the acquisition of the Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen in a trade a few days ago. With the Preds retaining 50% salary of his $8M contract, it’s a low-risk, possible high-reward trade for the Avs which arguably fills the 2C hole or at the very least a 3C position.

Kadri would come in and play that second-line center for sure if he were to ever return. But, for that to even happen a ton of things would need to happen. First, a trade would need to be put together. Some combinations of UFA’s and RFA’s could be included in the mix like Denis Malgin, J.T. Compher, and Alex Newhook for example since Calgary would be looking for more players, and the Avs have very little draft capital.’

But furthermore, Chris MacFarland would need to talk new Flames GM Craig Conroy into retaining some of Kadri’s salary. Another 50% salary retention rate could make it go a long way but would presumably be lower with Calgary already in cap trouble the next few years.

Plus, the entire reason Kadri wasn’t re-signed in the first place was because he would be expensive and put all of their eggs into one basket. This move would be doing this once again, even with the rising cap.

But with the need to re-sign other players, a need to develop some players and have a prospect pool, and put money into other players in the future it seems highly unlikely Kadri would ever play in an Avs jersey again. But one can dream, right? What would it take for a dream return for Kadri and would accept him back? Let us know in the comments below!