It wasn’t the biggest move of the NHL trade deadline, but it had potentially crucial playoff implications: Evgenii Dadonov, a 33-year-old right wing having a down year for the Golden Knights, was shipped to Anaheim in a pure salary dump. Vegas is only cap compliant because they have a lot of payroll on long-term IR, and if they want to get Mark Stone and Alec Martinez back, they need to shed salary. Dumping Dadonov’s $5 million per year off the books would’ve helped immensely. But the Knights-Ducks deal is now in limbo, and it appears to be all the fault of everyone’s favorite trainwreck, the Ottawa Senators.
To highlight how keen the Golden Knights were to move Dadonov, they threw in a second-round pick to convince the Ducks to take him off their hands. In exchange they got defenseman John Moore and the contract of Ryan Kesler, who hasn’t played hockey in three years and won’t count toward their cap. But a few hours after the trade was announced, Vegas put out an ominous statement:
That issue is, reportedly, a no-trade clause in Dadonov’s contract that lets him block moves to 10 teams. One of those teams is the Anaheim Ducks. Uh-oh!!
At first, there was speculation this might be another Patrik Berglund situation. In 2018, Berglund was part of a deal that sent Ryan O’Reilly from Buffalo to St. Louis. Buffalo was listed on Berglund’s no-trade clause, and he could have and would have blocked the deal, but his agent failed to submit the paperwork in time to do so. Berglund’s stay in Buffalo was as miserable as it was short: he was often a healthy scratch, and after 23 games he decided to stop showing up. He was suspended, then left the NHL altogether. There’s a reason guys get NTCs, is what I’m saying.
But in this case, neither Dadonov and his agent, nor the Knights or Ducks seem to have been in error. The former two got their paperwork in, and the latter two simply had no idea there was a no-trade clause at all.
Dadonov got the NTC, which included the Ducks, in a contract he signed with Ottawa in 2020, and per Elliotte Friedman, re-upped it in time for the new league year. But when Dadonov was shipped by the Senators to Vegas in the summer of 2021, Ottawa appears to have just … never mentioned the NTC to the Knights? Or, more cynically, told them it had expired to make Dadonov more appealing as future trade bait.
The NHLPA has gotten involved on behalf of Dadonov, and while the league tries to figure out just what the hell happened here, the trade is off for now—and, I suspect, will be voided. That’s bad news for Vegas, who I genuinely do not know how will be able to get under the cap for the playoffs, now that the trade deadline is past. It’s also potentially awkward for Dadonov, who may have to keep on playing for a team that was desperate to unload him. I don’t really care how this affects the Ducks.
I do care that the Senators, who had already made the funniest deal of the week when they took on salary and sent back a pick to get Travis Hamonic for no apparent reason, have managed to sow chaos and fuck over a bunch of people via a year-old Trojan horse of malice or incompetence. We don’t do trade grades around here, but if we did, Ottawa needs to stay after class.