Nazem Kadri finally won a Stanley Cup this season after years of falling short. The Colorado Avalanche star enjoyed a prolific postseason, during which he battled through thumb surgery in order to help his team win the title. Once the Stanley Cup celebrations die down, Kadri will have some crucial decisions to make regarding his next contract.
The 31-year-old is set to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason and it’s unclear if the Avs are willing to make the required sacrifices in order to bring him back. The Avalanche will need to make a decision between Kadri, Valeri Nichushkin, and Darcy Kuemper, among other free agents, and at least one of them will not be retained.
Last year in Colorado, playing in the high-paced Avs offense, Kadri registered a career-high 87 points. The veteran center scored 28 goals and put up a jaw-dropping 59 assists, which almost doubled the previous best mark in his career (30 in 2013-14 with Toronto). If Kadri does end up hitting the open market, there will be a laundry list of teams interested in adding him to their ranks.
With that in mind, here are the three best destinations for Nazem Kadri in 2022 NHL free agency.
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Nazem Kadri Free Agency Destinations
3. Philadelphia Flyers
With Claude Giroux out of town, the Flyers have a clear hole to fill in the attacking zone, and Kadri could be the ideal center to replace the franchise legend. As it stands, the Flyers don’t have the cap space to bring on Kadri, but if they’re able to facilitate a trade for someone like James van Riemsdyk and his $7 million cap hit, which they’ve reportedly been working to do , then they would certainly open up the room to bring a star like Kadri aboard.
Kadri earned just $4.5 million last season, but he’s due for a significant pay raise in 2022-23. After a disappointing year in Philadelphia, the Flyers will be looking to make a big splash in free agency in order to turn things around next year, and Kadri would be the perfect candidate for them to target on the open market.
2. Seattle Kraken
The Kraken had a pretty underwhelming debut season in the NHL, but they’re expected to be one of the biggest spenders in free agency. With a projected $23 million in cap space, per CapFriendly, the Kraken can certianly position themselves to be big players on the open market. Adding a proven star like Kadri could be just what this team needs as it looks to continue building excitement and momentum around the franchise.
Matty Beniers is set to see a much bigger role next year, and pairing him with Kadri up front could be a devastating combination down the stretch. Whether Kadri would have much interest in what is a rather long-term project in Seattle remains to be seen, especially now that he’s finally gotten his first taste of championship success, but there amy not be a team better positioned to give him a big- money offer than the Kraken.
1. Colorado Avalanche
A return to Colorado would be a dream scenario for all parties involved, so long as the money is right. Kadri likely won’t accept a huge paycut to return to the Avs, and Colorado may feel it’s more important to lock down Kuemper and Nichushkin if their deals would be more team-friendly. That said, if the Avs are serious about running it back, re-signing Kadri may give them the best chance at doing that.
Kadri has quickly become a fan-favorite in Colorado over the past few years, and after helping bring the franchise its first championship in more than two decades, there’s no reason to suggest both sides wouldn’t be interested in working out a new deal. Kadri was a warrior in the playoffs, registering 15 points in 16 games, even after undergoing thumb surgery during the Western Conference Finals. The sacrifice he showed for this team is exactly what the Avs are looking for, so it would be a tough pill to swallow to watch Kadri leave in the offseason.