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.
"They had other plans," he added. "I'm just happy to be moving to a great city with a great team, a great group of guys. I've talked to everybody in the (Colorado) organization and they're ecstatic to have me so it's nice to be wanted."
Drafted seventh overall by the Leafs in 2009, Kadri amassed 357 points in 561 games across 10 seasons with the club.