This upcoming offseason, the Carolina Hurricanes may be looking to Russia for offensive help in the form of winger Evgeny Dadonov
With hopes of the Carolina Hurricanes making the playoffs potentially dwindling, focus may already be shifting to how the team can get better. With a free agent market that isn’t as impressive as other years and a somewhat lackluster draft, lots of attention is being paid to free agent players outside of the NHL. One such player drawing lots of looks is SKA St. Petersburg winger Evgeny Dadonov.
If the name sounds familiar to Canes fans, it should. Back in 2012, the Hurricanes made a minor trade with the Florida Panthers to acquire the Russian. However, after only half a year with the Charlotte Checkers, Dadonov jumped continents to play in the KHL. Now, after 5 seasons in the 2nd best league in the world, Dadonov has established himself as one of Russia’s best players, representing his country as recently as the World Cup of Hockey.
After consistently putting up 45+ points in the KHL’s 60 game regular season for the last few years, Dadonov had a career year in 2016-17. In just 50 games, he scored 30 goals and put up 63 points, which was good enough for 6th in the KHL. His play helped lead his club into the KHL playoffs.
His exceptional year has drawn lots of eyes from North America. With the recent success of Alexander Radulov and Dadonov’s former teammate Artemi Panarin making the jump from KHL to NHL, general managers are eager to draw the next great Russian free agent. Dadonov might very well be that next guy in 2017-18.
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The stability of the KHL is also in question. The financial woes of rapid expansion among other logistical problems might mean some of the league’s best players leave in search of more solid footing. The NHL offers such a place.
This all points to a strong chance in Dadonov coming over to North America this summer. There is significant interest from many NHL teams and he would get a chance somewhere. But, does that mean he will join the Hurricanes? He might for a couple reasons.
For one thing, Carolina had owned his NHL rights for nearly 4 years until those rights expired last summer. That is both good and bad. It is not great because it qualifies Dadonov as a unrestricted free agent, meaning his price will skyrocket. However, at the same time, the Hurricanes organization has been in touch with Dadonov and his agent for years, and some familiarity could help the club get the inside track.
Also, among the teams interested in poaching Dadonov, Carolina has the distinct advantage of having loads of cap space. Much like the Alexander Semin signing in 2012, Carolina could pay high wages for just 1 season and see how it goes. Few other suitors can match a potential Canes dollar figure.
Should the Hurricanes take a run at Evgeny Dadonov? He could certainly help solve some offensive issues the Canes have for next season. Let us know what you think.