The Chicago Blackhawks made the right call trading away Nikita Zadorov, as he just signed a one-year contract with the Calgary Flames worth 3.75 million a year the team announced today. Zadorov, who does have some skill and size, struggled with Chicago this past season.
Nikita Zadorov was the main piece of a trade that sent Brandon Saad to the Colorado Avalanche. Saad would go on to put up seven goals in ten playoff games, while Zadorov would find himself on the Blackhawks back end putting up 190 hits in 55 games.
The Blackhawks did not have the salary to keep Nikita Zadorov around.
Chicago sent Nikita Zadorov, a player they were not going to re-sign, to the Calgary Flames for a third-round pick at the 2022 NHL draft. Chicago as of now has basically no salary cap room. They are actually over the cap and will have to work a little to get back under through putting a player in Rockford or potentially another trade.
So the team was not going to give Zadorov 3.75 million for a season. While he is a big defenseman that cost the team a lot to add to the organization, he just is not worth that kind of money. Zadorov was a liability on the ice a lot last season and often cost the team some goals or short-handed opportunities because of the way he played.
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Yes, he is a physical player, but I would rather have the additions the team added this offseason than another year of Zadorov at 3.75 a season. The team managed to get a third-round draft pick for a player they were not going to re-sign.
With the trade and now Zadorov being officially under contract it seems like the Artemi Panarin trade tree is done with the Blackhawks. Chicago sent Panarin to Columbus for Brandon Saad, and then last offseason the team sent Saad and Gilbert to Colorado for Zadorov and Anton Lindholm who is no longer under contract with the team.
Honestly, the Blackhawks made a mistake trading Saad. While they were trying to address a need on the defense, it ended up not working out at all. Plus the fact that Saad only cost 4.5 million in free agency makes him a player the team could have kept, especially considering maybe he would have given a more hometown discount to stay in Chicago.
Zadorov being off the team opens up a spot for younger guys like Wyatt Kalynuk and or Ian Mitchell, plus with the influx of new defensemen like Caleb and Seth Jones as well as Jake McCabe. I do not think the team will be missing Zadorov very much. Best of luck in Calgary to Nikita Zadorov, course not when you are playing Chicago though!