- Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.
Nazem Kadri has agreed to a contract with the Calgary Flames, sources tell ESPN, as the free agent center ends weeks of speculation about his next NHL destination.
The contract is for seven years and carries a $7 million cap hit, according to a league source.
To make salary-cap space for Kadri, the Flames also are working on a trade to send center Sean Monahan to the Montreal Canadiens, according to multiple reports.
Kadri, who turns 32 in October, had a career-best 87 points in 71 games for the Colorado Avalanche last season. He has 512 points in 739 games over his 13-year NHL career, which includes 10 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Kadri is known for playing with an edge to his game, which has led to six career suspensions, including three in the playoffs — although he notably avoided any supplemental discipline during Colorado’s run to the Stanley Cup.
Kadri meshed in well with Colorado’s high-octane power-play units and raised his profile even more in the postseason, returning from a thumb injury to score an overtime goal in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was injured in the Western Conference finals, when Edmonton Oilers forward Evander Kane incurred a boarding penalty riding Kadri into the wall behind the net. The Avalanche went on to sweep that series.
Kadri was one of the most prominent unrestricted free agents on the offseason market, which opened on July 13. As the weeks passed without an announced signing, there was speculation that Kadri could have a deal in place with the New York Islanders, whose general manager, Lou Lamoriello, is notoriously tight-lipped about transactions and who would have needed to clear cap space to acquire him.
Instead, the Flames landed Kadri, continuing a chaotic offseason that saw Calgary lose its two leading scorers. Winger Johnny Gaudreau left the franchise after nine seasons to sign a free agent deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Forward Matthew Tkachuk, who was one season away from unrestricted free agency, was traded to the Florida Panthers in July after making it clear he wasn’t looking to remain in Calgary long-term.
The signing of Kadri continues an aggressive Plan B for GM Brad Treliving and the Flames, who acquired star left wing Jonathan Huberdeau and defenseman MacKenzie Weegar from the Panthers for Tkachuk. Calgary then signed Huberdeau to an eight-year contract with a $10.5 million cap hit to ostensibly replace Gaudreau.
Monahan, 27, has played all of his nine seasons in the NHL with the Flames. Once the team’s top center, Monahan suffered a series of injuries that impacted his output and ice time. He was a healthy scratch during the 2021-22 season, averaging a career low 14:04 in 65 games before his season was shut down for hip surgery. The sixth overall pick in 2013, Monahan is entering the last season of a seven-year deal that carries a $6.375 million cap hit.
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