Trade Evgenii Dadonov to the Columbus Blue Jackets
As noted on the first slide, the most talked about issue for the Golden Knights is the salary cap situation and how the team can’t afford all of its players when they’re all healthy. Before doing anything else, Vegas has to find some flexibility in that department.
Let’s begin by moving a player that they never should have been acquired in the first place: Evgenii Dadonov. It’s not that I don’t like him as a player, but the Golden Knights used the money freed up in the Marc-Andre Fleury trade to bring him in, and that seemed like a waste.
The 32-year-old winger has not been bad as a member of the Golden Knights, as he has recorded 23 points (11 goals and 12 assists) in 58 games this season. That point total is ninth among Vegas skaters.
However, his 23-point effort this year and his 20-point effort from last season (in 55 games with the Ottawa Senators) is a far cry from the 47 points he scored in 69 games in his final campaign in Florida. He eclipsed the 65-point mark in consecutive seasons during his time with the Cats, but it appears as though those days are over.
What makes him even more expendable is the fact that he’s tallied only five power play points all season for a bad Golden Knights unit. Vegas is 26th with the man-advantage, scoring only 17.6% of the time.
If Dadonov’s scoring is nonexistent in one of his team’s weakest areas, and it’s down overall, then I see him as adding little value to a club that has no shortage of players that have demonstrated an ability to score in their careers.
This move would be a cap-clearing move only, so the Golden Knights will not get anything substantial in return. When they acquired him from Ottawa, the Knights gave up a veteran player and a third-round pick, but now that Dadonov is still not scoring despite playing on a wildly talented team, his value should go down.
Further, Vegas will be limited in its ability to trade him as a result of their well-documented cap constraints and Dadonov’s limited say in his destination.
The Columbus Blue Jackets will be an ample partner in this trade, because they have the financial flexibility to take on Dadonov’s $5 million cap hit. In addition, the Jackets are on the fringe of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, and they’ve shown a willingness in the past to go all-in this time of year, so a deal like this could happen.
In the end, the Golden Knights gain flexibility, and the Blue Jackets add an NHL veteran for a potential playoff push.