Can Nazem Kadri rediscover his consistency in 2023-24?

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
1 year ago
The Calgary Flames were in a tough situation last summer after Johnny Gaudreau left for Columbus and Matthew Tkachuk informed the Flames that he was not going to sign a long term extension with the Flames.
Brad Treliving pulled off an impressive Tkachuk trade with the Panthers to bring in Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar. The cherry on top of that transaction was the signing of Nazem Kadri.
The recent Stanley Cup champion with the Avalanche was coming off a career year where he put up 87 points in 71 games and added 15 points in 16 Stanley Cup playoff games.
Expectations were high for Kadri in his first season with the Flames. Let’s dive into his 2022-23 campaign.

The numbers

Kadri was able to produce at a career average level when it comes to goals and assists. Heading into the 2022-23 season, Kadri put up an average of 59 points a season. That includes his inflated 87-point year with the Avalanche. He put up 56 points in his first season as a Flame. Anyone who thought Kadri was the 87 point player from last season had their expectations way too high.
Kadri put up some decent counting stats, but his underlying numbers compared to his teammates were not good.
Average Time on Ice17:12
Faceoff Percentage47.5%
(Stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick)
Kadri was one of only four regulars on the Flames roster to get outscored when on the ice at 5-on-5, The others being Milan Lucic, Trevor Lewis, and Dillon Dube.
Kadri was fourth last among regular Flames forwards in expected goal for percentage (xGF%) and high danger scoring chances percentage (HDCF%).
On top of all that he was below 50% in the faceoff circle and was a team worse -19. The next closest player to Kadri in +/- was Lucic at -13.
Kadri had a bizarre year numbers wise as his goals and assists were pretty solid. But his analytics were lousy.

The eye test

It was a tale of two seasons for Kadri. You could make an argument that he was the Flames best player in the first half of the season. He looked like the Kadri we had all hoped to see. He skated well, he was scoring highlight reel goals, and had some nights where he was a pain in the butt to play against. I go back to the second game of the season in Edmonton when Kadri scored a spectacular goal and was the best player on the ice.
In his first game back from the all-star break he got absolutely destroyed by Jacob Trouba in New York which was one of the hardest hits we’ve seen in a long time.
He was not the same player after that game.
It looked like his overall engagement level went down a notch. The same compete we saw in the firs half of the season was not there. He wasn’t scoring as many goals. At one point in the second half of the season he scored two goals in 21 game span.
The moment that perfectly encapsulated Kadri’s second half of the season were two brutal giveaways in a must win game against the Chicago Blackhawks in April. It looked like Kadri had given up on his team in those moments. It was one of the most infuriating moments of the season for Flames fans.
Was it the Trouba hit that affected his game? Was it not seeing eye to eye with head coach Darryl Sutter? Was it a lack of chemistry with his linemates? I don’t think anyone outside the Flames organization has an answer for what happened.


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What’s next for Nazem Kadri?

We all know that Kadri is going nowhere. He is signed for six more seasons with an AAV of $7 million. He also has a full no move clause until the 2026-27 season.
The more interesting question to ponder is what should we expect to see from Kadri in 2023-24? Kadri will be 33 years old starting next season and is coming off an ugly end to the season. Is he going to recover and have a bounce back season? Is he going to continue his downward trajectory?
I personally think we will see a better version of Kadri the competitor next season. He has had a full season under his belt playing for Sutter. He knows what to expect coming into next season. The competitiveness should be back and hopefully will be sustained throughout the 23-24 campaign.
Production wise, expect to see Kadri back around the 55 point mark. I don’t think you can expect much more from a 33-year-old who has produced at that level his entire career outside one season in Colorado.

Overall grade: C

What did you think of Nazem Kadri’s first season in Calgary? Let us know in the comments section! 

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