The Calgary Flames have acquired defenseman Nikita Zadorov from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a 2022 3rd round draft pick.
The Flames lost captain Mark Giordano to Seattle in the expansion draft. While Zadorov is by no means on the level of Giordano, he is a good defensive defender who can play bottom-four minutes. The Flames do not really need a top-pairing left-handed shot defenseman, as Noah Hanifin could step up into the role. Zadorov will not come cheap. He is a restricted free agent, not too far away from being a UFA. He also made $3.2 million last year, so his qualifying offer is much higher. Zadorov’s eventual cap hit could easily be higher than what he deserves. He can be a shutdown defender, but does not bring any offensive talent and takes too many penalties. The Blackhawks are able to stay away from signing him, keeping them from getting in even more cap troubles. They recently acquired Tyler Johnson, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Seth Jones.
Zadorov, 26, scored a goal with seven assists for eight points in 55 games for the Blackhawks in 2020-21. In his NHL career for Chicago, the Colorado Avalanche, and the Buffalo Sabres, he has scored 23 goals with 60 assists for 83 points in 411 games.