The Calgary Flames seemingly turned a corner in the summer of 2022 when they landed both Nazem Kadri and Jonathan Huberdeau following the Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk sagas, but unfortunately, things just haven’t panned out in the 18 months since then. Despite another solid win on Tuesday, Flames fans are still hoping for a rebuild, and while that doesn’t mean a five or six-year complete teardown, even the mention of the word has revealed that one veteran isn’t interested in the “rebuild” route.
Nazem Kadri to demand a trade?
While nothing is imminent on the Kadri front, TSN’s Darren Dreger recently reported that if the Flames are going to push for a rebuild, the veteran forward wants no part of it, despite signing a seven-year, $7 million AAV last summer with the Flames. Here’s the quote via Brendan Ellis of CTV News Calgary:
"“Nazem Kadri, as an example, signed that long-term deal as a free agent with the Calgary Flames,” Dreger said on TSN’s Insider Trading on Tuesday.“Well, he wants to stay in Calgary, he wants to win with the Flames, but if the Flames as an organization progress to a rebuild, he’s not interested in that, and I think that there’d be others that are in a similar situation.”"
That deal was signed under the impression that the Flames would be competitive, but with the team likely to move Nikita Zadorov, Chris Tanev, Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm, with others potentially out too, it appears Kadri could be moved as well. That’s unlikely to happen this season, but if he can put together a solid 2023-24 campaign, this summer will certainly become an interesting one in Calgary as they look to make decisions on the future of the Flames.
The future may be here already
In Tuesday’s win, it was the line of Connor Zary, Kadri, and Martin Posipisil that led the way, with all three recording two points on the night. With Zary, Pospisil, Dustin Wolf, Matt Coronato, and Jakob Pelletier all making names for themselves, the Flames are building a solid core.
Now, with those UFA assets set to be moved, Calgary can either push for a quick re-tool with young, NHL-ready players or they can tear it down and completely rebuild, and while Dreger didn’t clarify whether or not Kadri disinterested in either of these options specifically, it’s something to keep an eye on.
What does the trade market look like for a Nazem Kadri deal?
Right now, with so many contenders being strapped for cash, it’s tough to see Kadri getting moved during the season, but if he can finish the year around the 50+ point mark (he currently has 8 points through 14 games), the market may heat up this summer.
Ultimately, though, he is 33 years of age and locked in for a further five seasons, so the market won’t be as good as the Flames would like, but if they can get his contract off the books and open up a spot for another 20-22-year-old to push this roster, it may be exactly what the Calgary Flames need to continue their re-tool/rebuild.