There’ve been rumblings around the league that KHL star winger Evgeny Dadonov is searching for an NHL club, as he’s preparing to depart his current KHL team.
Evgeny Dadonov is a highly skilled winger that has had success at the KHL level. He has represented Team Russia at the World Championship competition as well. Evgeny is indeed entering the prime of his career at 28 years of age and is a definite bargain for teams that are in need of a versatile play-making winger.
This prompts the debate of whether the Florida Panthers should pursue his services as he could potentially be signed at a cost-efficient deal. Dadonov would certainly be a bargain as he’s not demanding an incredibly high salary and term as other notable Russian players are in today’s game. He is a notorious example of a player who has had to prove himself his whole career.
As many Panther fans remember, Evgeny was drafted by the Cats as the 71st selection in the 2009 draft and was considered to become an integral part of this team’s future. Dadonov did not disappoint as he was in fact the only Panthers rookie to be selected to the NHL All Star Game Super Skills Challenge back in 2011-12. However, the Cats opted to go in a different direction and ultimately dealt him to the Carolina Hurricanes during the 2012 season (in January). In return, the Panthers received two prospects from the Hurricanes.
In hindsight, the trade proved to be worthless as both prospects were unable to make the Cats roster. Nonetheless, Dadonov thrived while playing for powerhouse team SKA Saint Petersburg in Russia, as he won the Gagarin Cup in 2015 setting a KHL record for most goals scored in the playoffs (15 goals). The list of accolades continued to pile on for him, as he was named an all star in his first year in the KHL. He also won the Gentlemen award in 2015. Dadonov recently won the Gagarin Cup once again with SKA in 2017, thus making him a 2 time champion.
Most recently, Evgeny had a memorable year amassing a grand total of 30 goals and 66 points in just 53 games. In the 2017 Gagarin Cup playoffs, he continued to produce as he totaled 19 points in 18 games. His numbers have been drastically increasingly on a yearly basis as he continues to demonstrate his effectiveness on the ice, while impacting the game significantly with his lethal wrist shot.
Having familiarity with Dadonov will be vital in the process of attempting to convince him to become a Panther. Florida was the only NHL team he played for (didn’t play a single game for Carolina). Dale Tallon was the same GM who decided to trade Dadonov in 2012 and can now have the opportunity to bring him back to provide much-needed scoring help.
Offering him a chance to play in a top 9 role would entice Evgeny to highly consider signing in Florida. A reunion could potentially work wonderfully for both sides, as Florida has tremendous opportunity of landing the highly coveted KHL forward at a bargain price.