SLAP SHOT

Nazem Kadri is still rooting for old Avs friend Nathan MacKinnon

Mar 12, 2024, 1:27 PM | Updated: 1:34 pm

Nazem Kadri Nathan MacKinnon...

(Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Colorado Avalanche fans adore Nathan MacKinnon, but there’s no doubt they still miss Nazem Kadri.

The stud center departed after the Avs won the Stanley Cup in 2022, taking a lucrative deal from the Calgary Flames in free agency. No one could blame Kadri, as Colorado wasn’t able to pay him the type of contract he could get on the open market.

The Game 4 hero against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Final, Kadri was also special in Round 2 in St. Louis. He was a hit at the championship parade and no one wanted to see him go.

But business is business, and the Avalanche have been looking for a second-line center since Kadri left town. In fact, their most recent replacement in Casey Mittelstadt, will play just his second game with Colorado since being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres before the NHL trade deadline.

That contest will be in Calgary on Tuesday night, where of course Kadri will face the Avs once again. And while the fans miss Kadri in Denver, it seems like he misses the Mile High City and his former teammates as well.

Speaking with Kyle Frederickson of the Denver Gazette after morning skate, Kadri made it clear he’s still pulling for MacKinnon. Specifically, he’s hoping he captures his first Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP.

It’s a classy answer from Kadri, pointing out of course he’ll try to stop MacKinnon this evening, then he can go bananas.

MacKinnon has had no problem lighting up the scoresheet this season, as his 111 points are the most in the league by four over Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov. For perspective, Kadri leads the Flames with 55 points, or fewer than half of MacKinnon’s total.

Nathan MacKinnon has finished in the top-3 of Hart Trophy voting multiple times, but has never gotten first. That could change this year, and Kadri is just one of the many guys hoping for it to happen.

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