In taking a look at what the Calgary Flames need in their next captain, there are a wealth of players that could fit the bill. That is a great asset to have when trying to make this decisions.
MacKenzie Weegar, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Rasmus Andersson are the three players we have previously taken a look at in our profiles of the next wearer of the “C”, and each one makes a compelling case.
One name that hasn’t been mentioned a ton since the conversation started is that of Nazem Kadri. That needs to change.
What makes Kadri an enticing captain candidate
Kadri signed with the Flames late last summer for a seven-year, $49M contract that should be his last big deal of his career. After winning the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche—and being a key part of their run—Kadri was looking to secure a stable future and Calgary was the ideal spot to make that happen.
Kadri is a player that the Flames had been dying to get a hold of for a number of seasons. After a failed trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Flames saw their opportunity to get him in free agency. The deal signed by him was the largest in team history handed out during free agency—not including extensions.
It’s evidently clear that Kadri loves Calgary, and the Flames absolutely adore Kadri in the flaming C. Making him the newest leader of the team makes a ton of sense.
One of Kadri’s biggest assets right now is that he has dealt with the pressure cooker environment that is bound to come with being the captain in a Canadian market. His career started in Toronto and he experienced more backlash than most player on that team season after season. Although he wasn’t in a formal leadership role, he led by example on the ice and that put him in hot water with the media more often than not.
For a team that is going to have to answer a lot of questions this year, someone who can be that shield for the team needs to have that experience. Kadri has that in spades.
During the first half of last season, Kadri was the team’s best player and honestly there is a good chance he could end up being the best player for this year as well. With that being the case, he may slot in well to the captain role.
The only thing really holding him back is that he’s only held a formal leadership title back with the London Knights, wearing the “A” for the team during one season. In the NHL he’s never had that honour. With the Flames having a ton of experience in that department, Kadri could be overlooked.
That being said, Kadri has been a leader in every sense of the word on and off the ice during his NHL career. Sometimes you don’t need a formal title to earn that respect.
Oh captain, my captain
Despite some other candidates that may be near the top of the list, Kadri is going to be a leader on this team for the next six years. His experience in a Canadian market, his Stanley Cup pedigree, and his skill on the ice is going to make him a fan favourite regardless of if he has the “C” or not.
Some may look at his history of playing with perhaps too much of an edge at times, but I say that is something that makes him more of an intriguing selection.
He’s done enough in his career to earn a shot and it could be wise to have the Flames give him one.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire