32 Thoughts: Evgenii Dadonov and trade deadline fallout

Justin Bourne and Nick Kypreos try to sort through the mess that is the Evgenii Dadonov trade that attempted to go down on deadline day.

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There is no distinct database for no-trade or no-move clauses. 

Those are private, filed by the agent directly to a player’s NHL team. The league and the NHLPA are aware what contracts have protection, but there is no mandate specific details be known to them. 

That’s got to change.

Some agents and players aren’t crazy about the idea. They think the more people that know, the greater the chance information leaks. Not every American-based NHLer (particularly those born in Canada) wants fans and media to know all seven Canadian teams are on their no-trade list. 

But, the Evgenii Dadonov snafu demands change.

On a trade call, NHL Central Registry, which must approve all transactions, will ask if there is anything preventing a trade from happening. This is the specific point where teams are required to disclose all information about clauses. This is even more critical now that updated CBA rules dictate that clauses travel with any player to a new team.

Here’s the best information I can provide on Dadonov, according to multiple sources:

Dadonov’s three-year contract with Ottawa indicates a no-trade list had to submitted by Jan. 15, 2021, for Season One; July 1, 2021, for Season Two; and July 1, 2022, for Season Three. For the first year, Anaheim was on his no-trade, Vegas was not. For the second year, same thing.

The idea this season’s filing was late is incorrect. There is documentation of a filing on June 30, and communication indicating acknowledgment of that filing. 

The biggest question I have about this situation — and it’s shared by many others — is how did Central Registry come to believe Dadonov’s protection had expired? Whatever anyone may think about the teams involved here, there’s no way Dadonov goes to Anaheim without Central Registry believing it was legal. 

There is zero chance this trade occurs if a piece of paper (or an email) exists with “no-trade to Anaheim” — unless Dadonov provides written permission allowing it.

Sean MacLeod is Central Registry’s vice president and managing director. He’s media-phobic, and very highly respected. Several executives jokingly referred to him as “beyond anal-retentive,” but that’s a compliment. He’s respected and thorough. He and his staff are the ones who ask all the questions, making sure all transactions are legal. 

On Monday, for example, the complex Carolina/Columbus/Florida Max Domi deal had to be reworked because the teams were told it would not be accepted the way it was originally structured. 

Dadonov was traded from Ottawa to Vegas on July 28, four weeks after submitting his list. One of two things appears to have happened on that call. Either everyone was told Dadonov hadn’t submitted the list, or, for some reason, the 2020-21 list was entered into evidence — leading to the assumption Dadonov had not filed on time, thereby voiding any protection.

It’s possible there are other explanations, but I haven’t heard anything at this time.

Whatever happened, both Vegas and the NHL thought they had the power to trade Dadonov without approval — until documentation was provided.  

There are at least two, possibly three situations in recent memory where players were traded because their lists weren’t filed on time. Then there’s this, where a player filed on time and was still traded. 

No more. Time for one body to take control of it all.


1. As it stands, Dadonov is expected to play for the Golden Knights Thursday night at home against Nashville. As I finish this blog — 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT Wednesday — there is nothing being considered to allow Dadonov to play if he is traded. CapFriendly had this correct: NHL bylaws forbid anyone traded after the deadline from playing for their new team the rest of that season, including playoffs. One thing we’ve all forgotten in this: Dadonov’s a talented player. He had three goals in his last two games, and Vegas needs scoring. 

2. Not sure Vegas will be as interested in Bryan Little’s contract (or Shea Weber’s) as it was in Ryan Kesler’s. Kesler is in the final year of his contract, and, if you can, you want to avoid being committed to LTIR for a long time. Little has two more years and Weber four. But, if the Knights want to bribe someone to acquire Dadonov to activate, say, Alec Martinez, there will be interest. Arizona will make itself available, assuming the Coyotes are not blocked from trading for him.

3. Another possibility is Seattle. The Kraken have a ton of cap room, and will be searching for offence.

4. What’s unknown at this time is what communication the Golden Knights had with Dadonov’s agent, Rick Komarow, before the trade. It is a reminder that while some teams might have better relationships with agents than others, you still need to work with them. 

5. Immediate deadline reaction: the Eastern teams see their playoffs more wide open than the West. Everyone in the East race added something; the West’s impact moves were limited to Calgary, Colorado, Minnesota and St. Louis. Was fantastic to see Carolina and Tampa Bay at each other’s throats Tuesday night. This year’s first round is going to be bonkers, and I can’t wait for it.

6. Something to keep an eye on: Colin White and Montreal. Canadiens GM Kent Hughes represented White, negotiating his current contract with the Senators. There were conversations, and, for a time, a few sources expected it to happen. We will see if it gets revisited. 

7. No guarantee it happens, but I do believe Claude Giroux is doing his research on Ottawa.  

8. When Giroux didn’t travel with the Flyers after his emotional farewell on Thursday, he told his teammates he would be heading to Florida. Joe Sakic confirmed Colorado’s interest; both Boston and the Rangers tried, too. But Giroux — and the Flyers — signed a contract that gave him the right to determine his destination. The conversations between Florida and Philadelphia weren't easy. Knowing they had the leverage, the Panthers grinded hard, which is why it took longer than anyone wanted or expected. The Flyers were frustrated, but ultimately decided to do what was right by Giroux. 

9. Lou Lamoriello said he kept promises to Zdeno Chara and Andy Greene that they would stay the season with the Islanders. There was a lot of interest in Chara, in particular.

10. Question that was asked most before Chicago’s trading Brandon Hagel to Tampa Bay: “Why is he available?” Teams were doing due diligence to make sure they weren’t missing something. 

11. The hardest thing about putting together the Marc-Andre Fleury trade was not getting the goalie’s approval, but brokering the draft pick conditions. Minnesota is happy with not guaranteeing a first-rounder, Chicago with the possibility of getting one. That bridge wasn’t easy to build. 

12. I do think Calgary took a looooooooooong look at Hampus Lindholm, but couldn’t do what Boston did. Sean Monahan would have had to be part of it, as the Flames needed to move money to make it work.

13. Edmonton liked Arturri Lehkonen, but couldn’t pay the same price as Colorado.

14. Montreal’s return for Ben Chiarot drove up the cost for Jakob Chychrun

15. Would love to get a hold of Chris Drury’s phone log the last few weeks. The Rangers tried some big swings. They were also close on Calle Jarnkrok, only to be edged out by Calgary.

16. Seattle resisted all inquiries — and there were a lot of them — on Carson Soucy.

17. Think there were a few teams who saw Brett Kulak and Jeremy Lauzon go for second-round picks, and regretted not getting on Robert Hagg. He went to Florida for a sixth. 

18. Brian Burke told Jeff Marek on the latter’s radio show that the initial ask for Rickard Rakell was a first-rounder and a top prospect. The eventual price was Zach Aston-Reese, Dominik Simon, Calle Clang and a second-rounder this summer.

19. There was definitely interest in Phil Kessel, but retaining on Johan Larsson meant the Coyotes reached their limit of three salary retentions (Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Darcy Kuemper). Was very difficult for teams to take his full cap hit.

20. Harri Sateri had “four or five" waiver claims. There was a good chunk of interest, besides Toronto. Some American-based teams decided not to sign him, because they were worried visa issues would take longer in the United States than Canada. 

21. Another former NHL goalie who may be looking to come back from overseas is Oscar Dansk. Dansk played six games for Vegas after being drafted by Columbus. He was most recently in the KHL with Moscow Spartak. 

22. By my count, Arizona, Montreal and Seattle have 20 of the 2022 draft’s first 76 picks.

23. New Jersey put Christian Jaros on unconditional waivers on Wednesday. He was on regular waivers Sunday, but not claimed. He can’t play in the NHL the rest of the year, but wants to get a jump on an NHL opportunity for next season after only 11 games this year. 

24. European free agent watch: Fredrik Olofsson from Oskarshamn in Sweden. Fifteen goals and 41 points in 48 games this year. Drafted 98th in 2014 by Chicago. Brother Gustav plays at AHL Charlotte.

25. Thank you to Twitter user Nick Fabbricino, who pointed out that since Kyle Dubas is from Sault Ste. Marie, and Kyle Davidson went to university in Sudbury (Laurentian) — they are destined to dislike each other.

26. Cam Talbot’s first start after the Wild acquired Marc-Andre Fleury: shutout. James Reimer’s first start after San Jose got Kaapo Kahkonen: 28-save win in Calgary, with some incredible ones late. That’s what real competitors do.

27. The Justin Bieber reversible Maple Leafs’ jersey is outstanding. Guy has 355 million followers on Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. Team benefits from his friendship with Auston Matthews. Every NHL club should find one superfan to do this. Now, wear the yellow ones, cowards!

28. Eve Gascon made her QMJHL debut for Gatineau last weekend, in a 5-4 overtime loss to Rimouski. I assumed that made her ineligible for NCAA play, because any male who appears in so much as a minute of a preseason CHL game loses NCAA eligibility. But, as Jeff Marek discovered, there is a loophole for female players in Canadian junior games. Gascon can still join Minnesota-Duluth.

29. Last weekend, the CCHA had a wild championship finish where replay determined 40 minutes later that the winning goal entered the net illegally. Minnesota State had already celebrated its championship, only to be told that the game would resume. It’s beyond insane, but the quote I saw from Commissioner Don Lucia was something like, “I don’t want to end someone’s career like this.” I completely agree with that statement. It may have been unconventional, and we’ll never be perfect, but if I was in charge, I would try to govern with that thinking in mind. As Rasheed Wallace (kind of) said, “puck don’t lie.” Minnesota State later clinched a proper victory. 

30. The Dadonov situation must bring back night sweats for Kelly Kisio, a pro scout for the Golden Knights. In 1992, he was to be traded from San Jose to Chicago, but a fax machine did not connect and the move eventually was blocked. (Hat tip: Drew Remenda.) Kisio had a good NHL career, 658 points in 761 games. 

31. Somewhere, Ryan Kesler is furious he just lost about $150,000 in taxes. 

32. Very, very sad to hear of Fred Walker’s passing last Friday. Fred was as nice a person as you’d meet in this business. Always took an interest in aspiring broadcasters. When I was at The Score, we covered a Toronto Argonauts media conference live. He was allowed to bring several students to the event, and he peppered reporters with questions about everything you could think of so they would understand as much as they could. He really liked helping the next generation(s). When he retired from CBC, Hockey Night in Canada broadcast a shot of him walking in the pressbox, making sure everyone knew he was leaving. The next time I saw him, we were talking about that (I wasn’t yet at HNIC). He laughed and said, “I got more notoriety for that one moment than anything I did during my time there.” A really good person, which is what matters most. RIP.

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