Did the Colorado Avalanche Just Sign Nazem Kadri’s Replacement?

Evan Rodrigues (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Evan Rodrigues (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche added to their forward group on Monday, signing a player that could fill some very large shoes.

As fans know, forward Nazem Kadri signed with the Calgary Flames this summer after a record-setting campaign with the Avs last season en route to a Stanley Cup championship.

Kadri thrived as the second-line center for Colorado, recording 87 points in 71 games in the regular season and 15 points in 16 games in the playoffs. Now, the Avalanche have been tasked with finding a replacement for him on line two and the power play.

While there may be an option or two in-house to replace Kadri, Monday’s free agent acquisition could be the best option Colorado has.

The Colorado Avalanche may have found a replacement for Kadri.

Evan Rodrigues will be making his way to Denver after spending the last two and a half seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 29-year-old signed a one-year, $2 million contract to join the defending champions for the 2022-2023 season.

Let me be clear: Rodrigues is not going to replace Kadri’s production. He is coming off of a career-best 43-point season (19 goals, 24 assists), which is good, but it’s nowhere near the 87 that the former Avalanche forward posted.

With that said, I do believe that E-Rod could be the best option to physically fill Kadri’s place as the second-line center.

Looking at last season, his best part of the year was the first half, during which time he filled in for the injured Evgeni Malkin. In his first 33 games, Rodrigues scored 15 goals and 15 assists. At nearly a point per game, he fit into Geno’s top-six role well.

Once Malkin returned, and Rodrigues was returned to a bottom-six role, things completely fell apart, and he had only 13 points the rest of the way.

Based on last season, Rodrigues is capable of (and maybe better off) playing in the top-six, and that just so happens where the Avalanche have a gap to fill. With a $2 million salary, Colorado will feel comfortable with him on the third or fourth line, but to me, the second-line potential exists.

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Regardless of whether or not the Avalanche intend for Rodrigues to fill Kadri’s role, I think him on line two could be a great fit for him and the Avs.