Islanders whiff again, Nazem Kadri signing with Flames: reports

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Nazem Kadri Islanders
Nazem Kadri. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but a major free agent that was linked to the New York Islanders this offseason is not ending up with the Islanders. 

Per multiple reports, center Nazem Kadri is signing with the Calgary Flames after it was believed for much of the last three weeks that he would sign with the Islanders considering the typical radio silence that normally surrounds players who are in negotiations with general manager Lou Lamoriello. 

Lamoriello, though, has had a difficult summer when it comes to reeling in any sort of free-agent talent to improve a team that missed the playoffs in 2022 after making two consecutive trips to the Stanley Cup semifinals. 

The Islanders first missed out on Johnny Gaudreau, who signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, before Kadri opted to go to western Canada rather than Long Island. 

It is believed that Lamoriello was unable to make the Islanders’ precarious salary cap situation work to fit Kadri’s expected sizable contract. The Islanders would have needed to shed one of their larger contracts, whether it was the $5 million of Josh Bailey or the $4.15 million of Anthony Beauvillier. 

An inability to do so has left the Islanders on the bench, watching the rest of the Metropolitan Division and NHL improve while they are still left with the same major flaws that have derailed them in recent years: A legitimate top-end, goal-scoring threat to put on the first line alongside Mathew Barzal.

Kadri would not have necessarily been that considering he’s a center, but a player who posted 87 points last year to plug in on the second line could have provided an opportunity to shift talent around — such as 37-goal scorer Brock Nelson back to the wing. However, that would have been a convoluted way to construct the roster rather than just getting a natural winger who could put the puck in the net. 

Lamoriello’s last hope to make the Islanders better is to execute what he likes to label “hockey trades” — which he had preached about toward the end of the 2021-22 season and at the beginning of the offseason. There are targets such as Vancouver Canucks forward JT Miller that could potentially be on the trade market, but the constant mystery in which the Islanders perform when it comes to the market makes speculation nothing more than that — speculation. 

Better for fans to wait for an official announcement from the team when it comes. Whether that’s announcing a trade or the more likely revelation that they’ve signed their restricted free agents like a pair of young defensemen in Noah Dobson and Alex Romanov. 

For more on the Islanders, visit AMNY.com