With the news that Radek Dvorak, Rostislav Olesz and Cory Stillman have all resumed skating for the Florida Panthers after missing time to injury, some of the younger players who have served in their absence are probably preparing for a return trip to Rochester. One of those guys should not be named Evgeny Dadonov.
Since being called up on 12/7, Dadonov has tallied eight points (2g, 6a, +4 rating) in eight games. More importantly, he seems to possess the scorer’s mentality that is desperately missing from the Panthers. If you look at his goal in the 5-0 thrashing of Philadelphia last Monday, you saw a guy patiently wait until the goalie made his move before flipping it in from a sharp angle.
If you look at Chris Higgins‘ two goals from Buffalo last Thursday, you’ll notice that it was Dadonov who got the puck on net to create the rebound chances. A guy who has a nose for the net is someone who is needed here right now. Someone who knows that good things happen if you force a goalie to make a play.
Now don’t get me wrong, Dadonov might not be the cure for what ails, but sending him back to Rochester would be counter productive. He’s earned the right to stay and develop. With Stillman (8pts in 20gms) and Olesz (9pts in 17gms), you know what you are going to get. While they have been solid this year, they are NOT going to get any better than they already are. Dadonov is 21 is showing a very high upside. It’s the same upside that I saw in September’s rookie games where he was always the best player on the ice for the Cats. Right now, he’s a top 6 forward on this team. To reduce his ice time or send him down in favor of veterans just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I’m hoping that those who make those decisions feel the same way.
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