Midday today, the Ottawa Senators announced that the organization had traded forward Evgenii Dadonov to the Vegas Golden Knights for Nick Holden and a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL draft.
The Writing Was on the Wall for Dadonov
Dadonov had been brought to the Senators from the Florida Panthers to work with the young roster and provide some scoring leadership with the team. It didn’t work out as well as expected; and, when Dadonov wasn’t protected by the Senators during the Seattle Kraken expansion draft, it seemed inevitable that the veteran player was on his way out of Ottawa. He’s a good-enough player, but doesn’t fit with the team’s rebuilding philosophy.
Dadonov has signed a three-year contract to play in Ottawa before the 2019-20 season started. The Golden Knights are taking on his $5 million salary-cap hit over the next two seasons. In some ways, the Russian winger reminds me of former Golden Knights player Paul Stastny, who played two seasons in Las Vegas before returning to the Winnipeg Jets last season.
Dadonov scored 13 goals and seven assists (for 20 points) in 55 games during the 2020-21 season. Instead of protecting Dadonov (and goalie Matt Murray, who also has a big salary-cap hit at $6.25 million for the next three seasons), the Senators chose to protect young goalie Filip Gustavsson instead. Although Gustavsson has only played nine games in total with the Senators, he has a strong 5-1-2 record with a save percentage of .933 and a goals-against-average of 2.16.
Dadonov Gives the Golden Knights Another Scoring Option
In Dadonov, the Golden Knights acquired a 32-year-old winger who gives their team another scoring option from the wing. In some ways, the trade was a surprise. It was thought that the Golden Knights would prioritize a scoring center instead of a winger.
What Does Nick Holden Bring to the Senators
In Nick Holden, the Senators brought to Ottawa a 34-year-old, 10-year NHL veteran defenseman from St. Albert, Alberta. He was undrafted, and he’s played with five NHL teams – not counting the Senators. The Senators also received a 2022 third-round draft pick from the Golden Knights.
In truth, more than anything the Senators were dumping Dadonov’s $5 million salary-cap hit. Holden has an year remaining on his contract for $1.7 million. This is more of a salary dump than an acquisition for Ottawa. The 34-year-old Holden played 17 games with Vegas last year and he scored only two assists during the season. He has one year remaining on his contract.
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