Flames Have Options to Land Nazem Kadri

After a career-best 2021-22 season, Nazem Kadri entered free agency ready to sign a lucrative contract. In fact, there were reports that the 31-year-old could land a deal worth almost $10 million per season. However, now that we are nearing the end of July, it seems he and his agent misread the market and he may have to settle for a much lower payday than expected.

Related: Calgary Flames Potential 2022-23 Breakout Players

Kadri still has received plenty of interest from several teams, including the Calgary Flames. While targeting Kadri may not have made a ton of sense for general manager Brad Treliving at the time, now that Johnny Gaudreau has left, and they traded Matthew Tkachuk for Jonathan Huberdeau and Mackenzie Weegar from the Florida Panthers, the Flames are still looking to contend for a Stanley Cup. Being able to add Kadri should bolster an already strong lineup heading into the 2022-23 season.

Kadri’s Price Has Dropped

We know Kadri will not be getting the deal he had hoped for, and as each day passes, it seems likely he is dropping, or at least considering dropping his asking price.

Nazem Kadri Colorado Avalanche
Free agent Nazem Kadri with the Colorado Avalanche (Getty Images)

Entering free agency, I was wary of any team signing Kadri for his original rumoured asking price. After all, before his outstanding 87-point campaign in 2021-22, he has recorded north of 60 points just once in his career. An offensive regression is likely next season, which would make anything close to $10 million a massive overpay.

That said, Kadri is still a fantastic centerman who is capable of scoring 30 goals while also shutting down the opposition’s stars. If his price comes down to the $6-$7 million range, the Flames should be all over this; having him and Elias Lindholm down the middle would make them one of the deepest teams in the league at center.

Flames Have Cap Space Available

As of now, the Flames have $9.3 million in cap space. That should be more than enough to land Kadri at this point, but it isn’t quite that simple. Both Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington are without deals, and Treliving’s top priority is getting them signed. Let’s assume they both re-sign for a combined $8.5 million. That would leave the Flames with just $800,000 in cap space, which wouldn’t be enough to get a Kadri deal done. However, they have options if they want to make an offer.

The first and most obvious option would be trading Sean Monahan, who accounts for $6.375 million of the Flames’ cap space. In a perfect world, he could be placed on long-term injured reserve, and his cap hit would come off the books, but that doesn’t appear likely at this time. Trading him would be no easy feat, but there is likely a team or two willing to take a chance on the former two-time 30-goal scorer, even if it meant giving up an extra asset or two in order to make it happen.

Sean Monahan Calgary Flames
Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Another option is to trade one or both of Mangiapane and Kylington if neither of them can agree on a multi-year deal to stay in Calgary, though this seems extremely unlikely. Ideally, both players get fair extensions, and in Mangiapane’s case, it’s a long-term deal. That said, if the two parties are miles apart, perhaps it is an option Treliving should consider.

Flames Still Showing Interest in Kadri

Whether or not Kadri is interesting in joining the Flames is unknown. After all, he did nix a trade to Calgary during the 2019 offseason. Things can change, however, and if Treliving can offer him the best deal, perhaps that will change his tune.

While it is unclear what Kadri’s intentions are, it is believed the Flames are still interested. If, by some chance, they can land him, he would not only help start a new era in Calgary, but he might also give them a better chance at going the distance than they had with Gaudreau and Tkachuk leading the charge.

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