Holy Curveball, Batman: Nazem Kadri Now Signing with the Calgary Flames?

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Holy Curveball, Batman: Nazem Kadri Now Signing with the Calgary Flames?

Chicago Blackhawks

One of the so-called worst-kept secrets in the NHL over the past couple weeks had been the expectation that the New York Islanders were going to make their big free agent splash in signing center Nazem Kadri.

Well, it now appears that isn’t going to happen.

Kadri is reportedly signing with the Calgary Flames, a wild card move that nobody saw coming.

The Flames have seen an enormous transition this summer after winning the Pacific Division with the departure of Johnny Gaudreau via free agency and then the blockbuster trade that swapped Matthew Tkachuk for Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar (and Cole Schwindt and a first-round pick).

So a Flames franchise that many had thought was going from the penthouse to the outhouse with potential departures of Gaudreau and Tkachuk has rebounded incredibly — and unexpectedly — well.

Gaudreau and Tkachuk combined to score 82 goals with 137 assists for 219 points last season.

Kadri, who was a huge part of the Colorado Avalanche winning the Stanley Cup, scored 28 goals with 59 assists in 71 games last season. Huberdeau, who was a huge part of the Florida Panthers winning the Presidents Trophy with the league’s best record, scored 30 goals with a league-leading 85 assists.

So Calgary is replacing 219 points with 202. Not bad.

If you throw in Weeger’s 44 points as a defenseman, the Flames have actually increased the point production on their new roster. Weeger joins Rasmus Andersson (50) and Noah Hanifin (48) giving the Flames three defenseman who produced at least 44 points last season. Only 27 defensemen in the entire league reached that benchmark last year.

This is still unconfirmed by the team, but this is a massive move for the Flames and a potentially significant non-signing for the Islanders’ front office that hasn’t done enough to change their trajectory in the east.

The Flames are also reportedly trading Sean Monahan to the Montreal Canadiens to make room under the cap for Kadri’s new deal. Huge moves in Calgary, and another buy-low move for Montreal who are also reportedly getting a draft pick with Monahan to take his contract.

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab