Canucks acquire Nikita Zadorov from Flames in exchange for draft picks

The Hockey Central panel discusses the Vancouver Canucks acquiring Nikita Zadorov from the Calgary Flames in exchange for a 2024 fifth-round pick and a 2026 third-round pick, and what it means for the two teams moving forward.

The Vancouver Canucks have acquired defenceman Nikita Zadorov from the Calgary Flames in exchange for a 2024 fifth-round pick and a 2026 third-round pick.

“Nikita is a big, strong and mobile two-way defenceman who will bring more physicality to our backend,” said Vancouver Canucks GM Patrik Allvin. “We really like his size and reach and his addition to our blueline gives us more depth and better options moving forward.”

Zadorov, 28, was being shopped by the Flames after he publicly requested a trade on Nov. 10 following an overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. His agent, Dan Milstein, was open about this request on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter and criticized his client’s lack of ice time.

Milstein responded to a fan on whether the Flames would be able to keep the defenceman, writing “I don’t think so” before raising concerns about his client’s ice time.

While Zadorov did support his agent’s statements at the time, he also asserted that he has loved being a Flame and was still enjoying his time in Calgary.

Zadorov later confirmed that he had talked with the Flames about the possibility of a trade.

“We’ve been discussing it. Like I said, I cannot really say a lot of stuff. Maybe it’s going to be time (soon) when I’m going to be able to share it with you, for sure,” Zadorov said on Nov. 11.

“First, I’d like to thank Nikita for his commitment to the Flames and his professionalism through this process,” Flames GM Craig Conroy wrote in a statement following the news. “This trade provides us with important draft assets, cap space and the opportunity for another one of our young prospects to prove himself in the NHL.”

Zadorov is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season and is currently on the books for $3.75 million.

On Tuesday, the Canucks traded forward Anthony Beauvillier to the Chicago Blackhawks in order to clear up over $4 million in cap space. Following injuries to defencemen Carson Soucy and Guillaume Brisebois (the fifth and sixth defencemen), blue line depth has been an area of need and the Beauvillier trade provided the cap flexibility needed to trade for Zadorov.

The Canucks had previously been linked to free agent defenceman Ethan Bear, who is recovering from shoulder surgery. Bear had played the majority of the 2022-23 season with the Canucks in a top-four role.

According to Sportsnet’s Luke Fox, the Toronto Maple Leafs were also in the market for Zadorov but needed the Flames to retain part of the defenceman’s salary in order to acquire him.

Zadorov, the native of Moscow, had 14 goals and 21 points in 82 games last season for the Flames, averaging 18:41 TOI. This season, he’s scored one goal and six points in 21 games.

The Canucks are currently sitting second in the Pacific Division and Western Conference with a 15-7-1 record.

In a quick turnaround for a potential revenge game, the Canucks will travel to Calgary on Saturday for a Hockey Night in Canada matchup. You can watch the game on Sportsnet or Sportsnet+ at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT

— With files from the Canadian Press

November 30, 2023 - 6:08 pm ET
cgy Calgary Flames
  • 2024 fifth-round pick
  • 2026 third-round pick
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