Big deal in the NHL. Unnecessary Russian forward exchanged for eminent Canadian

Dmitry Storozhev

Dmitry Storozhev

Yevgeny Dadonov traded to Montreal

Vegas will pay Weber $3 million more than Dadonov, but under the ceiling, the Knights are now freer.

The 2021/2022 season in the NHL has not yet ended, but many teams that have not been fighting for anything for a long time are in full swing preparing for the next championship. One such team is Vegas. For the first time in their short, but already quite bright history, the Knights did not make the playoffs, after which they parted ways with head coach Peter Debour. Almost a month after he was fired, the Golden Knights got a new mentor. They became the ex-coach of “Boston” Bruce Cassidy, who also lost his previous job at the end of this season.

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The NHL has been hit by a wave of coaching resignations. Which of the clubs and why starts a new life?

Having completed the transformation of the coaching staff, Vegas took on the players of the main team. The Knights became participants in the first exchange in the off-season that has not yet officially begun. At the same time, the deal turned out to be loud – Russian forward Evgeny Dadonov was sent to Montreal, and Canadiens captain Shea Weber followed in the opposite direction.

The main beneficiary in this deal, of course, are the Golden Knights, who tried to exchange Dadonov back in March. Then the “knights” on the flag of the trade deadline managed to announce a deal with Anaheim – a conditional choice in the second round of the 2023 draft was supposed to go to California along with Evgeny, and the “knights” would have transferred the rights to Ryan Kesler and John Moore. However, the NHL canceled the deal because the Russian’s contract included a partial ban on the trade, where the Ducks were listed as unwanted teams.

An absurd situation in the NHL.  They want to exchange the Russian to a club that is on his stop list
An absurd situation in the NHL. They want to exchange the Russian to a club that is on his stop list

Dadonov in this situation acted like a true professional – he did not hold a grudge against the club, which actually turned out to be unnecessary, and had a shock end to the season, scoring 16 points in the remaining 16 matches of the regular season. However, it was obvious that next season Evgeny would not be in Vegas – due to the strongly pushing salary cap, the Knights had to part with someone, and the Russian, whose cap hit eats $ 5 million from the total payment, in this situation became redundant for them.

At the same time, and with a less difficult contract, Dadonov still would not have remained in the Golden Knights. Even with the $1 million salary cap raised, Vegas is sorely short of money to renew free agents OCA Keegan Kolesar, Nicolas Roy, Brett Howden and Nicholas Hug and NCA Matthias Janmark and Reilly Smith.

Therefore, the acquisition of Weber is an important move by the leadership of the Knights to save at least one of this list. Even though the defender’s contract is almost $3 million more (and three years longer) than that of Dadonov, it will not be taken into account under the ceiling – the eminent Canadian spent the entire previous season on the injured list and, apparently, will not get out of there again.

Montreal wouldn’t just change their captain for no reason, even with the same ceiling problems as the Vegas. And this means that Shi is closer than ever to the end of his career. Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes hints at this almost directly: “If I thought that Weber would return in the near future, we would not trade his contract.”

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This swap leaves Vegas with approximately $5.2 million in margins. The benefit to the Khabs is less clear. Kent Hughes said that Eugene will help Montreal in attack – it’s true. However, they now have a little less than $2 million left under their ceiling. And this almost certainly means that the Canadiens will still participate in large exchanges, because they will not renew two important OCAs with this money.

Evgeny Dadonov

Evgeny Dadonov

Photo: Getty Images

One of them is forward Rem Pitlik. The Hubs drafted him in January after he was drafted by the Minnesota waivers. Pitlik very quickly joined the team and became an important part of it – since the debut of the 25-year-old forward in Montreal, only Mike Hoffman (27), Cole Cofield (36) and Nick Suzuki (42) scored more points than him (26). ).

Another important free agent is Russian defender Alexander Romanov. The Canadiens have repeatedly said that they have high hopes for the 22-year-old player, who last season became one of the key players on the team and took the place of Shea Weber as the main specialist in the minority game – Romanov took first place in the Khabs by the amount of time spent in this special team. Montreal’s remaining money is not enough even to renew one Alexander – his services now cost exactly more than $ 2 million.

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As for Dadonov, who at the second attempt still ended up in the fourth team over the past three years (Florida, Ottawa, Vegas), an important period begins in his career. Evgeny enters the last season under the contract – it will depend on him where and for how long the Russian will play after his 34th birthday, which will come in March 2023. In Montreal, the striker will have a great opportunity to once again become a stable player in the top 6 and extend his stay in the NHL for another couple of years.


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