Florida Panthers Need to Extend Forward Evgeni Dadonov

With only another year remaining on Evgeni Dadonov’s current deal, the Florida Panthers should undoubtedly attempt to negotiate a contract extension with the Russian-born winger.

The 29-year-old Evgeni Dadonov was originally selected by the Florida Panthers with the 71st overall draft pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Dadonov’s first stint with the Cats was highly unsuccessful, as he was traded and then departed the NHL for the KHL following the 2011-12 pro-hockey season.

Evgeni undeniably revitalized his hockey career in the KHL, having five incredibly impressive seasons with Donbass Donetsk and SKA Saint Petersburg.

The Florida Panthers would eventually reach a contract agreement with Evgeni Dadonov during the 2017 offseason, inking the Russian star to a three-year deal worth a total of $12 million ($4M AAV).

Furthermore, Dadonov’s second go-around with the Panthers has been highly successful. During the 2017-18 NHL campaign, Dadonov compiled an adequate slash line of 28G, 37A, and 65 points while suiting up in 74 NHL regular season contests.

Essentially, Dadonov was a lethal weapon on the top-six forward unit for the Florida Panthers, contributing greatly toward their phenomenal second-half playoff push.

Dadonov has also proven himself as a potential option on the primary power-play unit for the Florida Panthers, as well.

“Dad” concluded the 2018 season with six power-play goals but has improved that tally the following season with already seven by his name.

While Dadonov certainly does a majority of his damage through even strength play, he provides Bob Boughner with another deadly scoring threat on the Panthers’ man advantage.

In 64 regular season contests during the 2019 NHL campaign, Evgeni Dadonov has recorded a superb slash line of 22G, 27A, for 49 points. He’s played quite brilliantly and consistently throughout the course of his second stint as a Florida Panther.

In addition, Evgeni wouldn’t necessarily be considered a defensive liability either, as he registered an impressive plus/minus rating of +10 last season.

Overall, Dadonov owns a lifetime plus/minus rating of -4 in 188 NHL regular season games, which indicates that he’s not too bad in the defensive end and takes pride in playing exceptionally well on both ends of the ice.

The resilient Dadonov possesses tremendous chemistry with the likes of Captain Aleksander Barkov and winger Jonathan Huberdeau, forming quite the formidable trio on the dangerous first line in the past.

In essence, considering Dadonov’s contract will expire following the 2020 NHL season, General Manager Dale Tallon must explore a potential contract extension for the soon-to-be thirty-year-old.

I highly anticipate a contract spanning around 4-5 years, along with an annual average salary (AAV) of anywhere between $5-7 million, which should be reasonable in order to retain Evgeni Dadonov’s services.

Without the contributions of Dadonov, the Florida Panthers would undoubtedly find themselves in the bottom of the Atlantic Division standings and not consistently competing for a playoff spot.

Essentially, he was a big part in helping the Panthers reach 96 points last season and has them within somewhat reasonable striking distance of a wild-card berth – odds are very slim, however.

Moreover, Dadonov could and most likely will play a major role during the 2019 NHL offseason for the Florida Panthers.

With budding Russian superstar Artemi Panarin becoming an unrestricted free agent (UFA), the Florida Panthers will certainly make an effort to sign the “Bread Man” to a long-term deal.

Dadonov and Panarin were teammates while playing for SKA Saint Petersburg in the KHL and are close friends, too.

Therefore, the odds of Florida landing Panarin are considerably high, especially with the recruiting efforts of Evgeni Dadonov being a critical factor.

Ultimately, the Panthers must perform everything in their absolute power as a means of locking up Evgeni Dadonov to a long-term extension before he hits free agency in 2020.

With Dadonov in the lineup, the Florida Panthers are a more complete team and certainly have a higher chance of competing for the playoffs with Dadonov in the mix.

Hence, having Evgeni Dadonov signed for the long run is of uttermost importance if Florida hopes for sustainable, long-lasting success in the present and the future.

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