NHL Rumour: Top Unsigned Free Agent Remains Patient

NHL Free Agent signings

Following day one of free agency most of the top players found their new homes. However, forward Nazem Kadri has surprisingly yet to sign with a new club. This understandably has resulted in speculation as to why one of the best players is still unemployed.

Nazem Kadri Still Available on the Open Market

Rumour: Per Elliotte Friedman, who was speaking on his last 32 Thoughts podcast of the season, Kadri has received multiple offers. However, the Ontario native ‘is waiting’ as some of the teams which want to sign him ‘need to clear room’.

Initially, Friedman claimed the Columbus Blue Jackets initially approached Kadri with an offer. However, interest understandably cooled from the Jackets’ side, when they signed Johnny Gaudreau. Despite one club being out though, the former seventh overall pick does have plenty of other options, due to his excellent supporting play as a top-six centre.

What Does This Mean?

Kadri just won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche and played an essential role in the win. Therefore, it is unsurprising that the Avalanche are interested in keeping him. Kadri has made no secret that he has enjoyed his time in Denver and would be happy to resign. However, the Avs have just under $4 million in cap space and Kadri is likely to command between $6 million and $8 million. Therefore, they will have to trade a piece of their Cup-winning team away. Unfortunately, for Kadri, if Colorado wishes to make another run, this may be seen as too high a price to pay.

If Colorado cannot move a player, according to Friedman the New York Islanders would be interested in acquiring the player’s services. He points to their lack of activity in this season’s free agency as an indicator that they are looking to pursue a big-ticket signing. Currently, the Long Island club has enough cap to sign Kadri. However, the signing of their restricted free agents does appear to be taking priority.

There is also the question if the former London Knights standout would indeed sign. He would fit comfortably in the squad’s top six, creating a nice one-two punch down the middle with Mathew Barzal. With that said, Kadri appears to want to sign with a contender. With the Isles missing the playoffs last season and on a downward trajectory, a 31-year-old fresh off a Cup win may look elsewhere.

Flames a Long Shot

One final option Friedman reported was the Calgary Flames. Having lost Gaudreau, they are in a position unlike the other teams, with over $18 million in cap space. However, the Flames are ‘trying to be careful’ and it is unlikely Kadri will receive a ‘massive offer’. This is due to key RFAs needing new deals, including star winger Matthew Tkachuk. This again could facilitate the need for a trade if they want to retain Tkachuk and give Kadri a fair deal.