Surprisingly, Calgary Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov has requested a trade following the team’s recent loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The revelation came through his agent, Dan Milstein, on Friday night. Zadorov, 28, is approaching unrestricted free agency after this season and currently holds a $3.75 million contract.
NHL insider Rick Dhaliwal tweeted an update on Zadorov’s trade rumor:
“The #Canucks will be 1 of the teams in on this. Zadarov has been on the radar for a while in Vancouver.”
Despite a solid performance against the Maple Leafs, Nikita Zadorov received only 15:33 minutes of ice time, the second-lowest among the Flames’ defensemen. According to Rick Dhaliwal, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Vancouver Canucks are both interested in securing the defenseman’s services.
Notably, Nikita Zadorov has no trade restrictions and previously joined the Flames under the management of Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving. As the Flames navigate a challenging season with a 4-7-2 record, Zadorov’s trade request adds to the team’s uncertainty.
With several impending unrestricted free agents, they might be positioning themselves for a potential rebuild. Zadorov, who scored his first goal of the season in the recent shootout loss to Toronto, recorded 14 goals and 21 points last season. His contract, signed in July 2022, was a two-year deal worth $7.5 million.
Nikita Zadorov’s professional hockey career so far
Commencing his career with the Buffalo Sabres in 2013, Nikita Zadorov left a lasting impression with a remarkable debut, only to be reassigned to junior amid organizational changes. Flourishing with the London Knights, he garnered recognition on the OHL Second All-Star Team.
Traded to the Colorado Avalanche in 2015, Zadorov encountered stints in the AHL but consistently honed his skills, earning a two-year contract extension. A setback occurred in the 2016–17 season due to a fractured ankle, yet he rebounded, achieving personal milestones in the 2017–18 season.
Overcoming various injuries, including a facial fracture, Zadorov played a pivotal role in the Avalanche’s 2019–20 playoff success. Traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2020, he embarked on a one-year stint before finding a new home with the Calgary Flames in 2021.
In August 2021, Zadorov inked a one-year deal with the Flames. His impactful journey peaked on April 12, 2023, when he notched his first NHL hat trick in a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks.