The Vancouver Canucks have added some depth to their blue line by acquiring defenseman Nikita Zadorov from the Calgary Flames. On Thursday, the Canucks announced they sent a 2024 fifth-round pick and a 2026 third-round pick to the Flames in exchange for Zadorov.
Zadorov, 28, recently requested a trade out of Calgary while the team was enduring a disappointing start. A pending free agent, Zadorov is in the final year of his contract at $3.75 million per season, and he brings 588 games of NHL experience with him to the Canucks.
"Nikita is a big, strong and mobile two-way defenseman who will bring more physicality to our backend," Canucks general manager Patrick Allvin said in a statement. "We really like his size and reach and his addition to our blueline gives us more depth and better options moving forward."
A former first-round pick by the Colorado Avalanche, Zadorov uses his 6-foot-6 and 248-pound frame to his advantage on a regular basis. Zadorov will bring a physical presence to the Vancouver blue line, but he also moves fairly well for a defenseman of his size.
Through 21 games with the Flames in 2023-24, Zadorov played relatively well, despite what the minus-7 goal differential at five-on-five might tell you. According to Natural Stat Trick, Calgary controlled 54.4% of the expected goals with Zadorov on the ice, but horrific shooting and save percentages sank the actual results.
It will be interesting to see where Canucks coach Rick Tocchet slots Zadorov into the lineup. The top pairing of Quinn Hughes and Filip Hronek has been tremendous, so they probably won't get broken up, but Zadorov might take the place of the injured Carson Soucy as Tyler Myers' partner.