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Flames Want Winners, Landed One with Kadri

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Apply within: Winners only. If there was a sign the Calgary Flames were hanging at the Saddledome doors these days, that might be it.

After announcing the signing of Nazem Kadri and the trading of Sean Monahan, Flames GM Brad Treliving met with the media on Thursday night after. Question after question, he kept coming back to the same theme.

The Calgary Flames want winners. Competitors. People that want to be here to do that.

Coming off a Stanley Cup season with the Colorado Avalanche, Kadri certainly fits that description.

“He’s got a unique combination of skill and snarl. I think watching him over his career, he’s really developed the ability to play in all sorts of situations. That blend is unique,” Treliving said via Zoom. “He’s highly, highly competitive, highly skilled; He’s our kind of player.”

He’s the kind of player the Flames have been chasing for a while. As far back as 2019, when it comes to Kadri. The Flames had a deal in place to bring Kadri to Calgary but the former Toronto Maple Leafs first-rounder squashed it with his no-trade clause.

Not because he didn’t respect the Calgary Flames, but because he wanted to remain a member of the Maple Leafs.

This time around, he chose the Flames despite having other suitors – notably the New York Islanders. Treliving wasn’t certain he’d be able to land Kadri this time either. First they were trying to sign their own players, Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk.

After dealing with the drama at the start of free agency with the departure of both Gaudreau and Tkachuk, and the signing of Jonathan Huberdeau, Treliving hit the lure hard again.

“It’s a little bit like fishing,” said Treliving. “Sometimes you think you’ve got it on the hook, then it goes away a little bit and you see if you can get it back.”

In what’s believed to be a bit of a race to rid themselves of cap issues, the Flames came out the winner. Treliving suggested they had the deal essentially in place for the last week as they worked on the money.

It ended up being Monahan going elsewhere, but it also explains the Milan Lucic NHL trade rumours.

Treliving said the exodus early this summer hasn’t changed the Flames identity at all but you’d be forgiven for thinking that some of the descriptions used to praised Kadri weren’t also veiled digs at those who chose to leave.

“The one thing that sticks out, (Kadri) likes the stage. There’s some people that embrace it, maybe some people shy away. This guy, he loves the stage. He’s an ultimate competitor,” Treliving said of Kadri.

He mentioned the Cup win and the hunger he has for getting another one, the experience he had in the pressure cooker of Toronto, and the edge that he’s “crossed a few times” and how he’s learned from it.

“The bright lights and the big stage, he relishes that. Some cower, others embrace it. He fully embraces that,” Treliving said.

“He’s a winner. He’s got that attitude and he’s ‘got that aura around him that he’s here to play for keeps. I think he’s going to fit in great with our group.”

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