NHL Free Agency 2022: Latest on Nazem Kadri, John Klingberg Rumors, Predictions, More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxCorrespondent IJuly 14, 2022

NHL Free Agency 2022: Latest on Nazem Kadri, John Klingberg Rumors, Predictions, More

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    The opening day of 2022 NHL free agency was an action-packed one, with rumors, statements and signings coming at a rapid pace.

    The market officially opened at noon ET Wednesday. Within an hour, prized free agent Claude Giroux had a three-year contract worth $6.5 million annually from the Ottawa Senators. That night, Johnny Gaudreau inked a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets worth $9.8 million a year.

    While two of free agency's biggest names—and several other top players—are now off the market, there is plenty of talent left to be had entering Day 2. Here, you'll find the latest buzz, rumors and predictions for some of the most notable players remaining.

Nazem Kadri

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    Arguably the best player left on the market is Colorado Avalanche forward and newly minted NHL champion Nazem Kadri. The 31-year-old was terrific this past season, appearing in 71 games and producing 28 goals and 59 assists.

    The Avalanche, presumably, would love to keep Kadri, and the door remains open for a return.

    "A source familiar with the [Josh] Manson situation said the Avalanche was still in it for the big D-man. I heard the same with Nazem Kadri, that 'the door isn't shut' for a possible Kadri return to Colorado," Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now wrote on Wednesday.

    However, the Avs are far from the only team that has shown interest in the veteran center.

    "The team presentations continue," TSN's Darren Dreger tweeted.

    The Calgary Flames could be a potential suitor after losing Gaudreau. Calgary could use a splash signing right about now, and it has the fifth-most cap space in the league. The New York Rangers have just $5.5 million in cap space and were linked to Kadri before the start of free agency.

    "Kadri," one source told Larry Brooks of the New York Post. "Just don't ask me how."

    Yet a return to the team that just gave him a championship would make the most sense for Kadri. The Avalanche are down to $3.9 million in cap space after re-signing Manson, but the prediction here is that the team finagles the financials enough to run it back with their two top free agents in 2022.

    Prediction: Kadri re-signs with Colorado

John Klingberg

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    While a return to Colorado could still be in the cards for Kadri, standout defenseman John Klingberg appears highly unlikely to be back with the Dallas Stars this season.

    "In speaking with the media, assistant GM [Scott White] all but confirmed: The John Klingberg era in Dallas is over," The Athletic's Saad Yousuf tweeted Wednesday.

    Dallas signed winger Mason Marchment to a four-year deal worth $4.5 million annually, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet and NHL Network. This leaves the Stars with $11.5 million in cap space, and there's still a slight chance that Klingberg could be back.

    However, other teams are reportedly in the mix—including the Detroit Red Wings, Carolina Hurricanes and Seattle Kraken.

    "Both Seattle and Detroit have various levels of interest but Carolina (as EF has reported) is probably in the best position to offer what he's looking for. Carolina has been around Klingberg at various times all season," Jeff Marek of Sportsnet tweeted.

    The Carolina interest isn't surprising. Marek reported in November that the Hurricanes had called Dallas to inquire about Klingberg's trade availability. However, the 'Canes were active Wednesday—adding Brent Burns and Max Pacioretty—and now have $4.1 million in cap space.

    Seattle, meanwhile, has $11.6 million in cap space still available and should be looking for fast improvement entering the franchise's second season. Expect the Kraken, who added Andre Burakovsky on Wednesday, to make a push for another defenseman in Klingberg on Thursday.

    Prediction: Klingberg signs with Seattle

Patrice Bergeron

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    Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

    Another notable name still on the market is Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron. The 36-year-old is still a quality contributor and finished last season with 73 appearances, 25 goals and 40 assists.

    The general thought has been that Bergeron will re-sign for one more year with Boston, though he has yet to put pen to paper.

    "Nothing's changed. There's no update as of right now," Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said, per Justin Leger of NBC Sports Boston. "I think we're in a really good place with Patrice. Just the timing and working out the details of his contract, allowing him to declare that he's good to go. Could be any timeframe there. ... He's the only one that's gonna make that final announcement because he has the final say."

    It appears that Boston is offering up a minimal deal for the soon-to-be 37-year-old.

    "Don Sweeney indicated that both Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci contracts are going to be in the one-year, lower salary with incentives structure fairly common with 35+ NHL players," Joe Haggarty of Boston Hockey Now tweeted.

    That may be enough for Bergeron.

    It feels unlikely that Bergeron will want to play elsewhere at this point in his storied career. While the veteran may not move quickly on a decision, the prediction here is that he does return to Boston on a one-year deal.

    Prediction: Bergeron re-signs with Boston

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