Exchange angle: Orlov left Ovechkin, Dallas took Dadonov

Before the deadline for exchanges in the NHL, which will come on March 3, several significant deals took place at once with the participation of Russian hockey players. Long-term Washington partner and friend Alexander Ovechkin Dmitry Orlov moved to Boston, Evgeny Dadonov was traded from Montreal to Dallas for our other forward Denis Guryanov, Ivan Barbashev went from St. Louis to Vegas , Nikita Zaitsev – from Ottawa to Chicago, and Vitaly Kravtsov ended up in Vancouver after being abandoned by the New York Rangers. About what reasons are behind these transitions – in the material of Izvestia.

There was a Russian friend – he left

Before the Washington game with Anaheim, which took place on Friday, February 24, nothing seemed to overshadow the news about the return to the ice of Alexander Ovechkin. But a few hours before the opening faceoff, Capital boss Brian McLellan appeared on the stage and broke his fans’ hearts with the news of the exchange of Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway to Boston (withholding 50% of the Russian’s salary and receiving a package of three draft picks for two assets ).

Does this mean the Capitals are dropping the playoffs? Probably yes. Now, without Orlov and the injured John Carlson, you won’t look at the defense of Peter Laviollet’s team without tears. In three matches, the capital missed 14 goals – a clear indicator of the scale of the tragedy. But now the main question is how to evaluate this deal.

Do you remember the words of the owner of the “Washington” Ted Leonsis that the club is not going to go into a global restructuring to help Ovechkin break Wayne Gretzky’s record? With such moves, the Capitals are unlikely to help their captain. At the same time, on February 27, in a match with Buffalo, Ovi scored 813 goals in the NHL, to Gretzky’s record of 81 goals.

Ovechkin was clearly upset about the exchange: “He is a good friend, we spent a lot of time together, our wives are friends. This is a difficult moment.” However, Orlov’s chances of a successful performance in the playoffs this season have greatly increased.

Russian exchange

The exchange of Evgeny Dadonov from Montreal for Denis Guryanov from Dallas did not become a big sensation. Only the Russian nature of the deal can cause surprise – it is not every day that players of the same nationality are exchanged. North Americans don’t count. Both hockey players needed a change of scenery. To restart his career and stay in the NHL.

Despite the different ages, the problems of the players are similar – and now they will try to fix them in new clubs. Dadonov – in a strong “Dallas”, Guryanov – in the crisis “Montreal”. Only the Stars also cheated, because the Canadiens will pay Eugene half of his salary until the end of the season.

The fact that Dadonov will change the team has been talked about since the summer, when Vegas traded the Russian to Montreal to offload the payroll. The Canadiens were initially considered, if not a transit point, then exactly a temporary stop for Evgeny. The age forward did not conceptually fit the team that planned to rebuild. Dadonov seemed like an extra element in the system of the young coach Martin St. Louis. It is not surprising that the Chelyabinsk player spent the worst season in the NHL for Montreal. Four goals in 50 matches – clearly not such a result was expected from an attacker with a set shot. Which in four of the last five seasons gave out at least 20 goals.

Guryanov stagnated in Dallas. After a successful playoff in 2020, when Denis became the second scorer for the Stars, the striker’s performance has gradually decreased. In June 2022, the club offered the Russian only a one-year contract. It was a wake-up call that Dallas was cautious about Guryanov’s prospects in the team. Denis, like Dadonov, failed the current season. The striker was demoted to the fourth line, and playing time was reduced. Stars mentor Peter Debour explicitly hinted that Denis was not living up to expectations. “This is no longer a young player. Now we see only flashes, we need something more, ”the coach said about the striker at the end of October, and by February the situation had not changed.

Guryanov will fit into the Montreal squad, which has been covered by a series of injuries to leading forwards. All the Canadiens’ tournament tasks have already been “solved” – the team registered at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. The end of the regular season is the time to experiment and look for combinations for next season. Playing potential Denis has a place on the right flank in the second brigade of the majority. Dadonov, on the other hand, is familiar with the requirements of Dallas coach Peter Debour. They crossed paths in Vegas, and in the 2021/22 season, Evgeny scored 43 (20 + 23) points in 78 matches. He will turn 34 in March. And the current contract expires in the summer. The trade to the Stars is almost the last chance to slam the door to the NHL and take a shot at the Stanley Cup, which Dadonov never has in his collection.

Go for the second cup

The St. Louis continues Operation Reboot. The club is parting ways with the champion backbone of 2019 – now Ivan Barbashev has been exchanged. The Blues are dumping valuable assets at a wild rate. Vegas has long targeted the Russian. The deal was negotiated for a long time and took place the day before. The Musicians received in exchange for 20-year-old forward Zach Dean, selected with the 30th number of the 2021 draft. The Canadian has not played a single game in the NHL, but in the Quebec Junior League he is gaining more points per game. The Blues chose the future, sacrificing the present. An adequate choice, given that the chances for the playoffs are getting smaller, and the management started rebuilding.

Barbashev belongs to the category of players who would be useful to any club. A versatile forward, useful both on the flank and in the center. Fast, tenacious, uncompromising, efficient. Such people are appreciated by head coach Bruce Cassidy, who plays sketchy and energy-intensive hockey. And the striker of such a plan was not enough for Vegas. Especially after Mark Stone got into the infirmary. Barbashev’s annual salary is relatively modest ($2.25 million), if you remember that the forward won the Stanley Cup and could potentially go to the second line of the Knights.

Several teams were interested in Barbashev. As a result, we agreed with Vegas, which after the season can offer the Russian a new contract. In the meantime, the deal with St. Louis is an attempt to temper the squad before the playoffs. The Golden Knights are on their way to victory in the Pacific Division, and Ivan’s cup experience will come in handy in the second part of the championship. All parties benefited from the exchange.

Last week, the team was replaced by Nikita Zaitsev, who was traded to Chicago. In return, Ottawa received nothing. Some virtual picks in the draft, but this cannot be considered full compensation. The main thing is that the parties have long wanted to leave and finally achieved a divorce. Everyone is happy, but the hockey player has won more.

The defender lost four years in Ottawa, and the first two were excellent. Yes, the “Senators” did not get into the playoffs, but certainly not through the fault of Zaitsev. He was in leading roles, spent more than 20 minutes on the court, and although the statistics did not noticeably improve, the parties were pleased with each other. Everything changed in the penultimate season. Nikita himself is not yet ready to speak frankly about this period, but it seems that he had a strong fight with the coach. And the reasons are still unknown. This season, Zaitsev was not included in the squad, he got into the draft waivers and even played in the AHL, which has never happened to him throughout his career. No one remembered that it was the head coach Dee Jay Smith who called him to the team.

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