In the offseason, the Florida Panthers signed Russian winger Evgeni Dadonov to a three-year contact. Since then, Dadonov has revitalized his career and transformed the effectiveness of both Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau.
The Florida Panthers are no stranger to Evgeni Dadonov, ever since the team drafted him in the 3rd round of the 2007 draft. However, his run in the NHL was short-lived, playing just 55 games over three seasons and scoring just 20 points in his stint.
Dadonov, who often struggled to get anything going on either the NHL and AHL scale, was a short-lived member of the Florida Panthers’ roster. After just three seasons of bouncing around between the NHL and the AHL affiliate, Dadonov was out of the league and moved to Russia, where he would spend a total of five seasons with Donbass Donetsk and SKA St. Petersburg.
In Dadonov’s tenure in the KHL, Evgeni scored a total of 240 points in 311 games, including a 2016-17 campaign with SKA St. Petersburg, in which Dadonov scored 66 points in 53 games, finishing 5th in total scoring for the KHL.
Since returning to the team this offseason from the KHL, Dadonov has been a consistent part to not only the top 6, but the top line as well. He has allowed line mates Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov to have career years in all aspects of their games, like points per game for instance.
In 38 games with the Florida Panthers this season, Dadonov has tallied 10G, 19A, and 29 points all together. His shooting percentage is 10.9%, which is 5th best on the team.
For his line mates, Barkov has scored 43 points in 45 games and is on track to shatter his previous career high of 59 points. In 46 games played, winger Jonathan Huberdeau has 46 points and is just 13 points from his previous career high of 59.
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Beyond that, Dadonov’s impact has been felt since the beginning of the season. This season, Dadonov has a Corsi For (CF%) of 52.9% while Huberdeau holds a 53.09% figure. To complete the top line, Barkov also holds a strong CF% of 52.75%, like his line mates.
Even recently, Evgeni has impacted the first line for the team. Currently, Dadonov is riding a 6 game point streak, dating back to their January 5th game against Detroit, in which ‘Dad’ got an assist.
In the 6 games, Dadonov has scored a total of 8 points, 3 of which he’s recorded goals. His impact also helped Barkov have a 3 point game in their January 19th game against Las Vegas, where he scored a goal and had 2 assists, helping the team to a 4-3 win.
Evgeni’s impact is not only felt on the first line. Dadonov’s versatility as a winger has allowed coach Bob Boughner to shake up all the lines in order to find a permanent solution. While Boughner has yet to find that solution, he’s been able to play Dadonov on both the first line and second line, where he’s given Vincent Trocheck a more skilled winger to play with.
For the future, the hope has to be that, at 28, Dadonov can have a long and successful career on the team’s first line. His speed, ability to score, and ableness to find the open man are important to the first line, since his play style directly matches up with that of Barkov and Huberdeau. All three are on track to have career years for the Panthers, and the future could very likely hold the same.