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Wow Calgary! Kadri Added. Vancouver Canucks Will Face a Juggernaut

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Vancouver Canucks foe, Nazem Kadri
The Vancouver Canucks will face Nazem Kadri and the Flames twice in Calgary in December.

It appears we’ll have to re-evaluate the Pacific Division and the Vancouver Canucks head-to-head match-ups with Calgary after the Flames added centre Nazem Kadri to the mix on Thursday. It makes the defending division champs the favourites to repeat, if they weren’t already.

The recent Stanley Cup champion free agent signed a seven-year deal worth $7-million per season. To make room for the 31-year-old pivot, Flames General Manager Brad Treliving reportedly traded centre Sean Monahan and his remaining one-year $6.375-million contract to the Montreal Canadiens.

Essentially, one way or another, Calgary has gutted its core group from the last few seasons, one that never, somewhat mysteriously, got over the hump. If a shake-up was needed chemistry-wise, the Flames definitely have one. Johnny Gaudreau is with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Matthew Tkachuk is in Florida and Jonathan Huberdeau and now Kadri have taken their spots. Treliving was also able to add defenceman MacKenzie Weegar in the Trachuk to Florida deal.

Hands Tied

When new Vancouver Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin and President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford joined the club they had their hands tied to a large degree by existing contract obligations and salary cap restraints. They were able to re-sign popular winger Brock Boeser to a three-year deal, add Russian KHL free agent Andrey Kuzmenko with a one-year entry-level deal, and add his free agent countryman Ilya Mikheyev and ink him to a four-year contract. He should be a dandy after being lost in the mix of the Toronto Maple Leafs forward depth chart.

The elephant in the room remains the upcoming decision that must be made on trading or trying to sign 29-year-old Canucks leading scorer JT Miller to a new deal. They’d have a do a bit of salary cap calisthenics to get a contract done, but for all the talk of an eight-year deal for a player of his age being too big of a commitment, simply look at what Treliving gave to Kadri.

The goaltending between the two clubs is hardly distinguishable, while the Flames would definitely have the edge over the Vancouver Canucks on the blueline and likely up front depending on what happens with Miller. Calgary’s the team to beat once again in the Pacific Division.

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