The cancellation of Monday’s Evgenii Dadonov trade is a decision that could have an impact on the rest of this season and into the future. Because the Golden Knights’ place in the Western Conference’s playoff picture has become significantly more precarious than it was in the earlier months of the season, activating Alec Martinez and captain Mark Stone off of long-term injured reserve has suddenly become far more necessary than the team may have anticipated it would be. But without the cap space that was set to be cleared by Monday’s voided trade, the team is going to have a far more challenging time trying to get their players back from the long-term injured list. So, this means that the Golden Knights could pursue other trades to clear the cap room. In his 32 Thoughts blog, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman details what that could entail. He floats the Arizona Coyotes as a potential suitor for taking on Dadonov’s contract but states that the potential Dadonov-to-Arizona trade would be less appetizing to the Golden Knights than their voided trade to Anaheim was.
Friedman writes that “Arizona will make itself available” should the Golden Knights want to pursue that avenue of a solution, but it could be expensive. Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff reports that the cost of a team taking on Dadonov’s contract from the Golden Knights could be “a first-round pick” plus more. For Vegas, that is a steeper price than the second-rounder they were set to send Anaheim. With the trade deadline passed and any trade of Dadonov now making him ineligible to play again this season, what little leverage Vegas did have has likely evaporated. Even worse for the team, Dadonov’s no-trade protection, the center of most of this conversation, could further cut into the number of teams willing to engage with Vegas on this type of deal. So the central question for Vegas will be: if getting rid of Dadonov’s contract to be able to activate Martinez and Stone is essential to reviving the team’s fading playoff hopes, how much is this season worth to GM Kelly McCrimmon? How much is it worth to owner Bill Foley? The Golden Knights have been remarkably aggressive in their young existence as a franchise, with a relentless commitment to maximizing their team’s ability to win a Stanley Cup with their current core of players. This season has been perhaps their most challenging, and the Dadonov situation brings them to a fork in the road. Will they pay what could be an exorbitant price to trade Dadonov and activate some reinforcements? Or could they potentially refuse to pay that price, and end up missing the playoffs for the first time in franchise history?
- Speaking of the Golden Knights, in another nugget of information from his 32 Thoughts blog, Elliotte Friedman brings up a name that Vegas fans should remember. Friedman reports that oscar dance is pondering a return to North America after his first season overseas since he spent 2016-17 tending the pipes in the SHL. Dansk was the 31st overall pick in the 2012 draft and never quite lived up to his potential. After a 2020-21 season where he only got into 12 games across the NHL and AHL levels, Dansk left for the KHL. He played in 17 regular-season games for Spartak Moscow and registered a .910 save percentage. In three games for the team in the KHL playoffs, Dansk is sporting an impressive .932 mark. Given his track record as a solid AHL goalie (he had a .910 save percentage over a 75-game stretch for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves from 2018-19 through 2019-20), it’s possible that he could return to this side of the Atlantic and get a chance as a team’s third netminder similar to the role he played for Vegas when he was last in North America.
- One potential long-term impact of the voided Dadonov trade could be a change in how no-trade protections associated with contracts are tracked. A central issue with the Dadonov trade was that Dadonov’s contractual right to refuse a trade to the Anaheim Ducks was not communicated when the Knights made the trade earlier this week. The specifics of no-trade protection on NHL contracts are information typically only shared between a player, his representation, and the team he is contracted to. But with this Dadonov situation, that could change. In his piece detailing more information about Dadonov’s situation and no-trade clauses in general, the Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun notes (subscription required) that with the annual GM meetings set to be held next week, the creation of a centralized, league-monitored place to store information on no-trade clauses could be an item on discussion. As with any piece of information, the more eyes that get to see it, the more likely it is to leak. So some parties may be opposed to this solution given that an unintended consequence could be more players’ no-trade lists becoming public information. But given the mess that the Dadonov trade situation evolved into, one wonders if that’s a risk the league’s decision-makers are willing to take.