NHL Rumors: Nazem Kadri waiting on teams, and Phil Kessel still available

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The NHL Free Agent Market opened last week and we’re still waiting for Nazem Kadri to sign.

Kadr, 31, is fresh off a Stanley Cup championship with the Colorado Avalanche and likely looking at a 7 year deal with an AAV around $7M to $8M. That’s a fair contract for a center that posted 87 points in 71 games last season and then added 15 points in 16 playoff contests.

NHL Rumors: Nazem Kadri waiting

So why hasn’t Kadri signed that lucrative free agent contract yet? Elliotte Friedman provided an update on his latest 32 Thoughts Podcast.

“He’s waiting, because I think there’s some teams that want to sign him and they need to clear room,” Friedman said. “I think Colorado is a possibility and I think the Islanders would be someone else. But I wouldn’t assume them to be the only two.”

There were also reports that the Calgary Flames are looking to offer a big contract to Kadri but Friedman wasn’t sold. It would make sense since Johnny Gaudreau took less money to play closer to his New Jersey home and signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Calgary also attempted to trade for him in the past.

The Fourth Period also said the Avs could still be an option and the New York Islanders. They added the Seattle Kraken, Ottawa Senators, and Anaheim Ducks as other potential suitors.

For me, the team that stands out as desperately needing to make a move are the New York Islanders. After missing out on Johnny Gaudreau as well, they need to add more offensive to support for Mat Barzal. Although Kadri is a center, the Isles would still be better off with them as a one-two punch in the lineup.

Colorado remains a long shot unless they clear up significant cap space.

NHL Rumors: What’s up with Phil Kessel?

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Nov 16, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Arizona Coyotes right wing Phil Kessel (81) waits for a face off against the St. Louis Blues during the second period at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Why is Phil Kessel getting no love on the free agent market? The man is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with 399 career goals to his name. In 1,204 regular-season contests, he’s amassed 956 points.

Has the winger lost a step? Sure! But he’s still productive.

The 34 year-old had 52 points in 82 games last season with the hapless and floundering Arizona Coyotes. For that alone, the happy-go-lucky Kessel should garner some interest this summer with a contender on a one or two-year deal with a low cap hit. Are we talking less than a $1M contract? I’m not sure, but there are several contenders that can use his scoring touch even it’s just a little bit more than that.

One team that had interest in trading for him at last year’s trade deadline were the Nashville Predators. They currently have $8 million in cap space and can spare a little something for Phil. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Islanders don’t eventually give him a look as well.

Hey! You know who is really into signing aging veterans? The Pittsburgh Penguins, that’s who. Maybe a reunion is in the works.

At some point, there will be a team that comes to its senses and signs Kessel to a low risk, high reward contract.