Canucks GM Patrik Allvin says defenceman Nikita Zadorov will test UFA market

Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
13 days ago
The Vancouver Canucks may have done their best, but it looks like they won’t be able to retain the services of Nikita Zadorov for next season and beyond.
Speaking at his media availability prior to the first round of the 2024 NHL Draft on Friday, Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin confirmed that his team will allow Zadorov to head to free agency on July 1.
“I can’t overpay one single player and Nikita Zadorov was extremely good for us in the playoffs and a character guy and we did our best and he decided he wanted to go somewhere else,” the Canucks GM said.
Zadorov, 29, collected five goals and 14 points while averaging 17:04 of ice time in 54 games with the Canucks in the 2023-24 regular season after being acquired from the Calgary Flames in late November.
The Moscow, Russia product cemented himself as a fan favourite in Vancouver by adding four goals and eight points while logging 20:09 per night in 13 games against the Nashville Predators and Edmonton Oilers in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Canucks acquired Zadorov from the Flames on November 30 in exchange for a 2026 third-round pick and a 2024 fifth-round pick, the latter of which the Flames later flipped to the San Jose Sharks for defenceman Nikita Okhotiuk.
The Buffalo Sabres originally selected Zadorov in the first round (No. 16 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft. The 6’6″ left-handed defenceman spent 67 games with the Sabres to begin his NHL career before being flipped to the Colorado Avalanche as part of the Ryan O’Reilly trade.
Zadorov established himself as a full-time NHLer in Colorado, spending five full seasons with the club and helping them reach the playoffs in three consecutive seasons from 2018 to 2020. The Avalanche subsequently flipped him to the Chicago Blackhawks as part of a deal for Brandon Saad.
After just one season in Chicago, Zadorov was acquired by the Flames ahead of the 2021-22 season. Playing primarily on a pairing with Erik Gudbranson, Zadorov helped the Flames win the Pacific Division and reach the second round of the playoffs, where they fell to the Oilers in five games.
Through 642 career NHL games over parts of 11 seasons with the Sabres, Avalanche, Blackhawks, Flames, and Canucks, Zadorov has collected 47 goals and 146 points while averaging 18:05 of ice time per night. He’s added eight goals and 19 points in 58 games over five separate playoff runs with Colorado, Calgary, and Vancouver.

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