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Calgary Flames, Nazem Kadri agree to seven-year, $49M contract

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Nazem Kadri is the newest member of the Calgary Flames, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.

The contract is for seven years and $49 million, according to Friedman. To make room under the salary cap, the Flames will be trading Sean Monahan to the Montreal Canadiens.

Kadri, who won the Stanley Cup this past season with the Colorado Avalanche, was a much-coveted unrestricted NHL free agent. The centre collected a career-high 87 points (28 goals, 59 assists) in 71 games this past season, adding another 15 points in 16 playoff games.

Despite that success, Kadri remained unsigned for more than a month after free agency opened in mid-July.

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His previous six-year deal, which he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, was for $4.5 million a season.

In 2019, Kadri used his no-trade clause to block a deal from the Maple Leafs to the Flames and he was later moved to the Avalanche instead. Speaking to Sportsnet’s Eric Francis after that decision, Kadri said his goal at the time had been to remain with the Maple Leafs.

“It was nothing against Calgary. I obviously love that city and love going there as a visiting team,” he said in 2019. “I just had aspirations of staying put (in Toronto). I came very close. It was a tough decision.”

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The move is just the latest in a franchise-altering summer for the Flames. After rebounding from a lost season to win the Pacific Division and reach the second round of the playoffs, the Flames unexpectedly lost top scorer Johnny Gaudreau to free agency when he opted to sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Not long after that, Matthew Tkachuk informed the team he would not be returning when he hit the free-agent market in 2023. That decision led the Flames to pull the trigger on one of the biggest blockbuster trades of the salary cap era, moving Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers for a package centred around star forward Johnathan Huberdeau and defenceman MacKenzie Weegar.

The departures of two home-grown stars within only weeks led to some critics raising questions about the Flames organization and the city of Calgary’s desirability in the NHL landscape. But in his press conference after the Tkachuk trade, general manager Brad Treliving pushed back on that narrative.

“A lot has been written, talked about and discussed over the last week about Calgary, and quite frankly I think the city and the organization have taken some body shots,” he said on July 23. “Quite frankly, it pisses me off…

“People have the right to pick and choose where they may want to go, but as a community and organization we do not have to apologize for anything.”

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Huberdeau has since agreed to a contract that will keep him in Calgary for the next nine seasons. Now with Kadri in the fold, the Flames enter the 2022-23 season completely rebuilt but still very much a contender in the Western Conference.

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