Will Dadonov return for another season with the Knights?
In the 2021-22 Player Review series, we will evaluate the 2021-22 performances of each key member of the Golden Knights. Players were evaluated based on overall performance in the regular season with regard to pre-season expectations and how that player performed in his particular role.
Evgenii Dadonov joined the Vegas Golden Knights during the 2021-22 offseason via a trade with the Ottawa Senators that sent Nick Holden and a third-round pick in the 2022 back to Canada’s capital. He was coming off a season in which he tallied a line of 13-7-20 in 55 games, and it looked like an opportunity for him to rebound. Dadonov did just that, even though the Golden Knights tried to get rid of him before a trade to Anaheim was reversed because of a snafu involving his no-trade clause.
Season In Review
Dadonov skated in 78 games for the Golden Knights and scored 20 goals while adding 23 assists for 43 points while averaging 15:49 per game. Dadonov got off to a slow start, and posted average numbers during the months of November, December, and January. February was a terrible month in which he kept off the scoresheet in the 8 games he appeared in. He turned it on for the final two months of the season, posting a line of 10-12-22 over the final 27 games as the Golden Knights tried to secure a playoff spot.
He also had a strong season from an underlying numbers perspective, and while it wasn’t at the level he saw while with the Florida Panthers, it was much better than his previous year in Ottawa.
His overall GAR (goals above replacement) number this year was 8.1, and here’s a look at how he arrived there via Evolving-Hockey.com
- Even Strength Offense — 7.3
- Even Strength Defense — 1.3
- Power Play Offense — -1.5
- Shorthanded Defense — 0
- Penalties Taken — 1.2
- Penalties Drawn — -0.3
Dadonov was among the team leaders in a number of fancy stats including an expected goals for percentage of 54.53 (7th overall on VGK), a Corsi for percentage of 53.67 (10th), and a goals for percentage of 54.25 (10th) among roster regulars. All things considered, Dadonov had a fine season, and at times really stepped up when needed. He’s not the high-octane threat he was with the Panthers, but still a decent veteran who can be counted on for secondary scoring.
Dadonov is in the final year of his contract, and carries a cap hit of $5 million. He possesses a 10-team no trade list, and presumably will be one of the first players sent out to create some cap space. The only potential snag is that he’s set to make $6.5 million in salary, and that could be something that’s a turnoff to teams with internal budgets. Had Dadonov’s cash salary been less than his cap hit, he’d be more in demand because there are always teams who look for those players in order to get to the cap floor. That said, he does have value, and his strong end to the season in the face of everything that was going on with the botched trade and injuries piling up for Vegas should have endeared him to some general managers around the league.