Nazem Kadri's departure from the Toronto Maple Leafs stands as one of the biggest moves of the 2019 offseason, but his former club had a deal in place with another team before shipping him to the Colorado Avalanche.
The Leafs sent Kadri to the Avs on July 1 along with Calle Rosen and a third-round pick in exchange for Tyson Barrie, Alexander Kerfoot, and a sixth-rounder. In the aftermath of the trade, it was reported the former Leafs pivot turned down a move that would have sent him to the Calgary Flames.
He confirmed as much on the latest edition of Sportsnet's "31 Thoughts: The Podcast."
"So what happened is they had a deal in place and they wanted me to move my no-trade clause," the 28-year-old said. "But you know, obviously, for me, it was no disrespect to Calgary or the Flames organization. I love their team and I love the direction they’re headed.
"I just figured that had I declined, I would have had a better opportunity of being a Maple Leaf next year and that's really what it came down to. I wanted to play for the Leafs next year. I wanted to be a part of that. In declining that trade, I had aspirations of being a Leaf and we know, clearly, that didn't happen."
Kadri's contract includes a 10-team no-trade list, along with a $4.5-million cap hit for the next three seasons.