Nazem Kadri and John Klingberg were considered among this summer's top free agents, expected to be quickly signed when the market opened on July 13. Over a week later, however, they remain unsigned.
Kadri is coming off a career-best 87-point regular-season performance last season. He played a key role in the Colorado Avalanche's recent Stanley Cup triumph. The 31-year-old center is coming off a six-year contract with a $4.5-million annual average value.
Klingberg, meanwhile, reached the 40-point plateau last season with the Dallas Stars for the sixth time in eight seasons. The 29-year-old puck-moving defenseman seeks a big raise over the $4.25-million annual cap hit of his previous seven-year deal.
So what's the hold-up here?
Colorado Hockey Now's Adrian Dater reported Kadri has some offers on the table from several clubs he doesn't want to play for due to their location, lack of contender status or both. It was assumed the Avalanche might bring him back, but Dater puts those odds at “30-70 now. Maybe 20-80.”
On July 17, The Athletic's Peter Baugh tweeted multiple teams were interested in Kadri and trying to clear cap space for him. Meanwhile, his colleague Aaron Portzline cited Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reporting that the Columbus Blue Jackets made a pitch to Kadri but pulled it after signing Johnny Gaudreau.
As for Klingberg, The Athletic's Saad Yousef reported there hasn't been much news since free agency began. He suggested the market isn't what the Klingberg camp expected it to be and wondered if he'd accept a return to the Stars on a one-year deal.
A reunion with the Stars, however, seems unlikely. Cap Friendly shows then carrying $11.5 million in cap space with rising stars Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger to re-sign.