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Friedman: Disagreement on salary retention prevented Toronto from acquiring Chris Tanev and Nikita Zadorov from the Flames

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Photo credit:© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
6 months ago
The Calgary Flames traded blueliner Nikita Zadorov to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday afternoon. But had the Flames reached an agreement on salary retention, he and teammate Chris Tanev could have become Toronto Maple Leafs instead.
That’s the scoop from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, on the Saturday Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada.
Here’s Friedman:
“Now, the two teams involved here wouldn’t discuss it, but there was an attempt by the Toronto Maple Leafs to get both Tanev and Zadorov from Calgary. Now, from what I understand is the issue here was that the Maple Leafs and the Flames could not agree on what it would cost for Calgary to keep up to 50% of the salary on both players. I don’t know what the exact percentage was that Toronto asked, but it was up to half, and the two sides couldn’t figure out that compensation in addition to just the compensation for the players. So as a result, Tanev and Zadorov to Toronto didn’t happen. Zadorov goes to the Canucks.
The Maple Leafs do continue to look for defencemen out there. I do think they will continue to pursue Chris Tanev, although because Tanev makes a larger salary than Zadorov if might take longer for the Tanev move to happen, whether to Toronto or someone else.”
Tanev is in the final year of a four year deal that carries a $4.5 million cap hit. Renowned as a heart-and-soul, defensive defenceman, Tanev has been lauded for his selflessness on the ice… but it probably also causes a bit of nervousness when it comes to his potential as a trade asset.
To put it bluntly: he’s the type of player that blocks a shot with his face, gets 12 stitches, and then dives in front of another shot at point-blank in the very next game. He plays the hard minutes – defensive situations and penalty kills – and his playing style lends itself to a bit of injury risk. And that injury risk makes holding onto him as an expiring asset for too long a risky proposition itself.
The trade deadline falls on March 8, 2024. After Zadorov’s departure, the Flames have three prominent pending unrestricted free agents remaining on their active roster: Tanev, Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin. We’ll see how many of them remain with the Flames on March 9.

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