The Vegas Golden Knights made a big move on Tuesday, trading for the rights to Evgenii Dadonov from the Ottawa Senators. This is a huge acquisition for Vegas and one that should help them make it to the playoffs this season.
The vegas knights are a newly formed team in the NHL. They have made many trades to get them where they are today. One of their most recent trades was for Evgenii Dadonov from the Ottawa Senators.
On Tuesday, the Vegas Golden Knights tried to break the internet by dealing Marc-Andre Fleury, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner and face of the club, to the Chicago Blackhawks.
On Wednesday, they dealt Nick Holden and a 2022 third-round pick to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for scoring winger Evgenii Dadonov, causing far less consternation.
In this exchange, which side comes out on top? For both general managers, we gave the following grades:
With 3.39 goals per game in the regular season of 2021, the Golden Knights ranked third in the NHL. They finished eighth in the playoffs, with a 2.79 average. To be sure, their roster is loaded with offensive skill. It does, however, need more finishers. Dadonov is still one, but the issue is whether he is still one.
From 2017-18 to 2018-19, Dadonov scored back-to-back seasons with 28 goals. In his last season with the Florida Panthers, he averaged 1.3 goals per 60 minutes, but that dropped to 0.9 goals per 60 minutes in his first and only season with the Senators. He’s been in a four-year freefall in terms of analytics, with his even-strength statistics plummeting and his defensive measures staying below average. He scored 1.6 goals over average in 55 games last season.
So the expectation is that a change of environment — and teammates — can help Dadonov reclaim his attacking prowess. The team’s top two lines are set, assuming the Knights continue to move components this summer. (For example, a top-tier centerman from the Buffalo Sabres.) Dadonov may potentially join a rebuilt third line that includes Alex Tuch and new center Nolan Patrick. That would be a triumph as a bottom-six fit.
However, this transaction does not take place in a vacuum. Dadonov’s cap hit for the next two seasons is $5 million. For a 32-year-old athlete who has been on the decline, that’s a lot of cheddar. This is also a portion of the salary cap space created by the Golden Knights’ trade of Marc-Andre Fleury to the Blackhawks earlier this week. While the rest of the hockey world doubts the Knights’ ability to win the Stanley Cup, GM Kelly McCrimmon trusts in the centers they have in their lineup. He’s now allocating even more cap space to his wingers instead of the center of the ice.
But the Knights needed finishers, and that’s the one thing Dadonov excels at outside of his season in exile in Ottawa as a free agency signee.
Holden, a 34-year-old defender with one year remaining on his contract for $1.7 million, joins the Senators as an experienced defenseman. He’s a modest upgrade above what Ottawa might have gotten on the free market. Not a bad addition to the blue line, particularly for one that needed something on the left side.
The Canucks’ third-round selection was transferred to Vegas in the Nate Schmidt contract dump last summer. Given the team’s current condition, it might be a high third-round selection.
This rating does not apply to GM Pierre Dorion’s original signing of Dadonov. To be honest, we enjoyed it at the time. But it didn’t work, and everyone involved knew it. So they dangled him in front of the Kraken at the expansion draft, and he didn’t bite. And now they get an experienced defender and a third-round pick for a $3.5 million contract in the first year. It’s not a terrible rework.
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