Kadri wants to return to Avalanche, but says 'I've shown what my worth is'

FILE - Colorado Avalanche's Nazem Kadri in action during the third period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series against the St. Louis Blues Friday, May 27, 2022, in St. Louis. The National Hockey League has taken significant strides in recent years to improve diversity in a sport that has long been predominantly white. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

Nazem Kadri will be celebrating his Stanley Cup win all summer long but first, he has some business to take care of.

The veteran centre is an unrestricted free agent and after his career year this season, a number of teams are expecting to bid for his services.

But if he had to choose, Kadri says his first choice would be to return to Denver.

"How could it not be?" he said on Real Kyper and Bourne. "...The Kroenke's have been great supporters of mine and made it clear to me that they'd like me to stay also but we understand that there's a business aspect involved. We're going to try to work together."

Kadri, who will turn 32 just days before the puck drops next season, is coming off a six-year contract that carried a $4.5 million cap hit. The final year of his contract might have been his best yet, with 28 goals, a career-high 87 points and his first All-Star Game appearance. He then followed it up with big performances in the playoffs, including the overtime winner in Game 4 of the Final — his first game back from thumb surgery.

The Avalanche have a number of decisions to make with only seven forwards and one goalie under contract for next season, plus a pending pay raise for Nathan MacKinnon that still needs to be negotiated.

Whether the team is able to make room for Kadri under the cap remains to be seen, but it's clear the 13-year-veteran intends to make the most of this free-agent opportunity.

"I've shown what my worth is and I'm just looking forward to watching this all develop," he said.

You can listen to Kadri's full interview with Nick Kypreos and Justin Bourne, where he talks about his thumb injury and plans for his day with the Stanley Cup, in the audio player below.

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