Nikita Zadorov wanted out of Calgary and the Vancouver Canucks snagged the giant left-shot defenceman, adding to their blueline depth while picking up an early rental for a playoff run.
The move comes just a couple of days after the Canucks traded forward Anthony Beauvillier to create the salary cap space. In fact, the club used the 2024 5th-rounder they received from the Chicago Blackhawks in return for the winger to help land the Flames defenceman. Vancouver also sent along a 2026 3rd-round NHL Draft pick.
Saturday night should be fun as the Canucks play the Flames in Calgary.
First things first, Vancouver will host the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights Thursday night at Rogers Arena without Zadorov. The Canucks are chasing the VGK in the Pacific Division standings.
Busy Canucks Management
The Canucks know you can never have enough legitimate blueliners come playoff time, especially big, tough ones to round out your depth. There was much speculation as to Zadorov’s destination after he asked out of Calgary earlier this month, plenty of it around the Toronto Maple Leafs, led by former Flames GM Brad Treliving.
Instead, it’s Vancouver’s GM Patrik Allvin who swoops in to grab the 3rd-pair D-man.
“Nikita is a big, strong and mobile two-way defenceman who will bring more physicality to our backend,” Allvin said in a statement. “We really like his size and reach and his addition to our blueline gives us more depth and better options moving forward.”
Zadorov physical presence will provide an edge the Canucks have lacked in recent seasons, outside of the stalwart efforts of veteran righty Luke Schenn the last two seasons. While Schenn is big and fearless, Zadorov is a behemoth.
The Russian has six points and 23 penalty minutes in 21 games this season.
In 588 career regular season NHL games split between four different clubs, the 6-foot-6, 245-pound defenceman has collected 132 points and 599 penalty minutes in his career. Zadorov has also appeared in 45 career playoff games, tallying 11 points and 98 penalty minutes.
The Canucks sent out $4.15-million in pro-rated contract with Beauvillier’s departure and brought in a pro-rated $3.75-million with Zadorov. Both players are unrestricted free agents after this season.