DENVER — An emotional night awaits Nazem Kadri in Denver and the former Avalanche fan-favorite is prepared for his hero’s welcome.

“It kind of is what it is,” Kadri told Mile High Sports following morning skate at Ball Arena. “Definitely going to enjoy it. It’s going to be emotional.”

Kadri, 32, signed with the Calgary Flames in August following a three-year stint with the Avalanche. A loveable figure everywhere he’s played, Kadri had the most storied season of his career in 2021-22. Not only did he post career highs throughout the regular season, recording 87 points in just 71 games, but he also helped the Avs charge to their first Stanley Cup championship in 21 years.

Kadri was a vital cog in the Avalanche machine. His postseason was highlighted by a hat trick in St. Louis in the second round and the unforgettable overtime game-winning goal in Tampa Bay in Game 4. It was the one and only tally Kadri had in the three games he played with a broken thumb.

“My favorite is obviously the goal in the finals,” Kadri said, recounting his memories of the Cup run and his time in Colorado. “That was pretty sweet. And that’s something that, you know, that puck’s going on my wall, for sure.

“When you win somewhere I don’t think the page could ever really be turned just because you just think about it so much. Just playing with some great players and great people. I met some friends for life.”

The Avs are red hot

Following an impressive 5-1 victory in Winnipeg on Friday — the Avs, who are 12-2-2 in their last 16 games — could finish the night second in the Central Division and trail the Dallas Stars by either one, two or three points for the top spot. They’ll also have two games in hand on the Stars.

Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist in Winnipeg, extending his point streak to six games (six goals, eight assists). MacKinnon has at least two points in each of the six games. Second-line center J.T. Compher, who has done an admirable job stepping into that role with Kadri’s departure, reached the 40-point mark on Friday. He, too, posted a goal and an assist to extend his career-high point totals. Compher is one of four skaters to appear in each of Colorado’s 56 games this season.

Avalanche trade Shane Bowers

Colorado acquired goalie Keith Kinkaid from the Boston Bruins for forward Shane Bowers, the team announced Saturday afternoon. Bowers, a first-round draft pick in 2017, was part of the blockbuster Matt Duchene deal in November of that year. Bowers finally made his NHL debut this season, playing just three shifts before suffering an injury that kept him out for several weeks.

Kinkaid, 33, is a veteran of 168 NHL games. He has spent most of the 2022-23 season in the AHL, but won his only NHL start with the Bruins, stopping 30-of-31 shots against Buffalo in November. Kinkaid will report to the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League.

The Avs also sent goalie Jonas Johansson down to the AHL earlier on Saturday and called up Justus Annunen. It’s unclear if Annunen will get the nod or if starting goalie Alexandar Georgiev will play on consecutive nights.