After beginning his NHL career with two stints in Florida, forward Evgenii Dadonov is headed north to Ottawa and he likes what he sees with the Senators.
"I spoke a lot with Ottawa, and we made the decision it's going to be a good opportunity for me," Dadonov told reporters on Monday, during his first media availability as a member of the Senators.
Dadonov said he received interest from six or seven teams before signing his three-year, $15-million deal with the Senators last week, indicating that conversations with general manager Pierre Dorion and head coach D.J. Smith were what ultimately helped make up his mind.
"Pierre told me, and D.J. told me the plan of the team, the strategy ... I though it was going to be be a good opportunity for me," he said.
"The team has got a lot of young guns, prospects are very good," he said, adding that he wants to take on a role helping the team's young guys. "We made a decision it's going to be good for me."
Asked about the Senators' young players like Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot, two cornerstones of Ottawa's rebuild, Dadonov said he believes they "have a chance to be superstars in the league."
"I'm really excited to play for this team. It wasn't a decision just made because of the contract," he said. "I hope this team's going to get some success. I think we're gonna race for the Cup for the next few years."
During an appearance on Hockey Central on Friday, Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said Dadonov -- the best right winger on the market -- was a big target for Ottawa "right from the start" of free agency.
"Right wing is not a place that we have a lot of depth at the NHL level as we speak, so obviously we pursued Evgenii right from the start," Dorion said. "For us, he was the best right winger available on the market, and we just let things play out. We were never in a rush to pull the offer, we made our offer — which was very similar to what we signed him to — and talked to him about different term and I think both parties felt this was the right term."