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Canucks assign Irwin to AHL, meaning Nikita Zadorov will make his debut tonight

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Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
6 months ago
The Vancouver Canucks have assigned Matt Irwin to the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks, leaving the door wide open for newly acquired defenceman Nikita Zadorov to make his debut with the team tonight.
On Thursday, the Canucks executed a trade with the Calgary Flames to bring Zadorov to Vancouver, sending a 2026 third round pick and 2024 5th round pick back the Flames’ way.
Following the trade, the Canucks dropped their Thursday night matchup with the Vegas Golden Knights by a final score of 4-1, so getting some defensive reinforcements should be a help for the Canucks and their banged-up blue line.
Jeff Paterson will be delivering a full edition of Scenes from morning skate shortly, which will give us an idea of where Zadorov will play tonight. We’d expect him to play with Ian Cole, but it will be interesting to see how the Canucks deploy their defence pairings this evening regardless. Per Sportsnet’s Eric Francis, Zadorov is paired up with Tyler Myers at morning skate in Calgary. That’s one tall defence pairing!
Standing at 6’6 and weighing in at nearly 250 pounds, Zadorov is an upgrade to the Canucks’ bottom four defence group, and management clearly feels this is a player capable of making the jump into playing top four minutes. Despite his large stature, Zadorov is an excellent skater and is a capable puck handler. He’s certainly an upgrade on players like Noah Juulsen and Mark Friedman, who have been thrust into playing top four minutes with the absence of Carson Soucy.
Zadorov’s presence should also help bring down the total ice time of Filip Hronek and Quinn Hughes, as both players have seen their ice time increase significantly as of late.
To read our full breakdown of what the Canucks are getting in Zadorov, click here! We also talked about it on the most recent episode of Canucks Conversation, and you can watch that segment in the clip below!

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