Canucks and Nikita Zadorov not done and dusted yet

While the chances remain unfavourable, one way or another we will reportedly find out within the next few days if Nikita Zadorov will return to the Canucks.
Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks - Game Seven
Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks - Game Seven / Derek Cain/GettyImages

Following the conclusion of the Canucks' season, Nikita Zadorov let it be know he loved being in Vancouver and hoped to work something out. However, as we recently wrote, contract talks subsequently stalled between the two sides.

As per Max Miller of The Hockey News, Zadorov's agent Dan Milstein wasn't speaking with the Canucks. Further, that the team knew what his client was looking for in respect of any potential new deal.

It should be noted the two sides had entered into contract negotiations prior to the playoffs, but were unable to come close to agreeing anything. With all this in mind, it certainly doesn't seem promising for Zadorov returning to Vancouver next season.

An update expected very soon

However, as is often quoted, never say never, at least until something official is announced anyway. In this respect, we will apparently soon know if the Russian native is going to be back with the Canucks in 2024-25.

As per Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, we will find out within the next few days if there's any hope for the Canucks with Zadorov. Speaking on Friday's edition of the 32 Thoughts podcast with Jeff Marek, Friedman did stress the odds are still less than 50 percent, but from speaking to someone in the know, that it isn't over yet.

This must all be extremely frustrating for the Canucks fan base, with Zadorov becoming a firm fan favourite after arriving in a trade from the Calgary Flames last November. He performed as expected on the ice, bringing a much-needed physical, intimidating presence in defence specifically and leadership to the team in general.

The 2013 16th overall draft pick further endeared himself to the Canucks faithful during his end of season presser, saying how much better the fans were compared to those in Calgary and Edmonton. And yet, along with his comments about how much he loves Vancouver, it could all end up just being talk.

Money talks

Not that we don't believe what Zadorov said, but ultimately money is the bottom line for everyone in this business. Along these lines, and given the likely advice of his agent, he is still more likely to test free agency on July 1 unless the Canucks can come closer to what he wants.

The 29-year-old will be in demand. As such, he will undoubtedly receive an increase on the $3.75 million he received in 2023-24, with speculation from anywhere between $5 million and $6 million per season, on a five-year deal.

On its own this actually sounds like a reasonable contract for Zadorov, but the issue for the Canucks is that they have nine unrestricted and two restricted pending free agents to consider in total. Even allowing for their generous projected cap space for next season, there's only so much money to go around, meaning not everyone is going to be happy.

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Unfortunately for the Canucks, the chances are that Zadorov will be one of those unhappy players. Yes it's not done and dusted yet, but it's probably best for the Vancouver fan base not to get their hopes up too much.

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