Nazem Kadri explains why he chose Flames in free agency
Offensively and otherwise, Nazem Kadri was a beast throughout Colorado's Stanley Cup triumph last spring.
Fueled by several electrifying single-game performances during the Avs' run, the pending unrestricted free agent posted seven goals and 15 points in 16 games after potting a career-high 87 points in just 71 contests during the regular season. It was a career year to say the least for No. 91, one that had many speculating just how high his contract would climb as he hit the UFA market.
But Kadri says he was chasing more than just a payday this offseason, he's also chasing rings.
On Thursday — as Kadri prepares to bring the Cup home to London, Ontario — the 30-year-old told The Fan 960's Pat Steinberg that some suitors offered more total money for his services, but Calgary's roster makeup, especially down the middle, along with its readiness to compete for Stanley Cups immediately, made the Flames the most appealing option in the end.
Nazem Kadri tells us other teams offered more in free agency, but the opportunity to win now was a huge factor in his decision to sign with Calgary.
Kadri says he’d put the centre depth of him, Elias Lindholm, and Mikael Backlund up “against anyone in the league”. #Flames
— Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) August 25, 2022
Highlighted by that elite core of pivots and flanked on the wings by Tyler Toffoli, Blake Coleman, Andrew Mangiapane and newly acquired and signed Hart Trophy candidate Jonathan Huberdeau, Calgary still, somehow, boasts an extremely talented and formidable top-six up front — even after the gigantic losses of Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk.
Part of the return from that Tkachuk trade was potential top-pairing blueliner MacKenzie Weegar, who joins Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev, Oliver Kylington and Nikita Zadorov to form arguably the NHL's deepest d-corps.
Add 2022 Vezina finalist goaltender Jacob Markstrom and the Flames remain right up there with the Oilers as favourites to claim the Pacific Division crown next season and beyond.
What started off as a disaster with the losses of franchise cornerstones in Gaudreau and Tkachuk turned into one of the more impressive recent offseasons from a GM, with Brad Treliving capping his sleepless summer by signing one of the most coveted UFAs on the market.
The vibes remain good in Calgary, and Kadri will only help.
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