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Kadri anticipating bounce-back season with Avalanche

Forward, acquired in trade with Maple Leafs, excited to join talented Colorado group

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

DENVER -- Nazem Kadri is looking forward to beginning a new chapter in his NHL career with the Colorado Avalanche following his trade from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.

"I feel like I'm having a great summer so far and I'm feeling really the best I ever have working for redemption next season," he said Tuesday. "I feel strong, I feel great and I strongly believe that my best years are yet to come. I think Colorado's a nice step for me."

The 28-year-old forward was acquired with defenseman Calle Rosen and a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft for defenseman Tyson Barrie , forward Alexander Kerfoot and a sixth-round pick in the 2020 draft.


[RELATED: Kadri traded to Avalanche | 2019-20 NHL trade tracker]


Kadri, who was Toronto's No. 3 center behind John Tavares and Auston Matthews, likely will be Colorado's second-line center this season and is expected to take some of the burden off the high-scoring line of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen.

"I'm ready for it," Kadri said. "That's a good thing about Toronto, prepping you (for being) under that pressure, being under the microscope. It's hard to perform there sometimes because of the scrutiny and the pressure that you face, how everyone seems to be watching you. That's one thing that I'm fortunate that the city gave me, just to be able to adapt and control those pressure situations."

Kadri is looking to rebound after a down offensive season. He scored 16 goals after he scored 32 each of the two previous seasons, and his 44 points were his fewest since he had 39 in 2014-15.

"I think everyone knows what I'm capable of," Kadri said. "Hitting the 30-goal mark back-to-back times is pretty tough to do in the NHL, and I certainly have that potential."

Video: Avalanche acquire Nazem Kadri in a four-player deal

Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic on Monday called Kadri a fierce competitor, but that competitiveness sometimes caused him to get into trouble. He was suspended for the final five games of Toronto's seven-game Eastern Conference First Round loss to the Boston Bruins for cross-checking Jake DeBrusk in Game 2.

"I think they know I'm a heartfelt guy and I'll do anything for my teammates," Kadri said. "I think that was obviously shown sometimes not necessarily in the best way. My head and my heart were always in the right place. I don't think that played a part in the [trade]. As everybody knows, I'm a very competitive person. I don't like losing. Winning makes everything a lot easier and a lot more fun. I have that feistiness and that competitive edge and that's really what keeps me motivated."

Kadri said he's received welcoming messages from several new teammates.

"I've been coming to Denver for many, many years and it's a city that I love," he said. "It's just beautiful all around. … Pepsi Center is a great venue to play in and I enjoy playing there. A lot of the guys on the team have actually reached out and gave me a shout, which is always nice. To welcome new players shows a lot of class.

"I've spoken to Joe and he had some very positive things to say. All this positivity, it's tough to leave (Toronto), it wasn't really my first choice, but at the end of the day the Colorado Avalanche are going to be contenders for many, many years to come with such a young team, such great players. I'm absolutely thrilled."


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