On the Donnie and Dhali podcast, Vancouver Canucks insider Rick Dhaliwal said he felt Calgary Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov is a player he feels the Canucks will be interested in… either through trade or through free agency. Zadorov will turn 29 on April 16, and scored a career-high 14 goals with the Flames last season.
Much has been made of the mess that is the right side of the Canucks’ defense, but they do have top prospects like Hunter Brzustewicz and Tom Willander that will eventually complete that side behind Filip Hronek. The team’s left side, which consists of Ian Cole, Guillaume Brisebois, and Carson Soucy behind Quinn Hughes, is not much better. With the once-promising Jack Rathbone off to greener pastures, the Canucks don’t have much of a promising future on that side.
Zadorov grabbed headlines on Oct. 24 with some incendiary commentary on the Flames’ performances to start the season. The big Russian sounded like a player who was very unhappy with what has transpired, and especially so after the Flames missed the playoffs entirely last year. Zadorov will be a free agent at the end of this season, and currently carries a cap hit of $3.75 million. This could be the first step he takes to begin his journey out of Calgary.
If he is to join Hughes and Soucy, Zadorov would give the Canucks more depth on defense than they’ve had in recent memory and allow them to sport a left-hand side that is rather physically imposing. Soucy and Zadorov are both 6-foot-5 or taller, while the captain Hughes can skate circles around almost every player in the NHL.
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Obviously, the Canucks don’t currently have the cap space to facilitate such a deal, nor should they make a panic move to try and remain a playoff contender. If the time comes and they’re close to a playoff spot but are leaking goals like they’ve been, then it might become a more appropriate action to take.