Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Nikita Zadorov discussed his situation after Saturday’s game (but don’t expect a quick resolution)
By Ryan Pike3 months ago
On Friday night, following the Calgary Flames’ shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, reports emerged that Nikita Zadorov had requested a trade. Speaking to the media on Saturday, following the Flames’ 4-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators, Zadorov certainly didn’t deny his request but he didn’t exactly shout “get me out of here!” either.
Based on a couple reports from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman during Saturday’s broadcast, don’t expect a quick resolution to Zadorov’s situation.
During the pre-game show for Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, Friedman briefly discussed Zadorov’s situation.
He reiterated this during the second intermission Headlines segment, placing Zadorov’s trade request in the broader context of the club’s two other pending unrestricted free agent blueliners (Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin).
Following the game, Zadorov held a post-game media scrum in the visitor’s locker room at Canadian Tire Centre.
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After addressing the game initially through the first few questions, Zadorov was asked about his agent’s social media comments on Friday (and the reported trade request). The line of questioning was preceded by an audible sigh from Zadorov.
Sportsnet’s Ryan Leslie asked about his agent’s tweet: What was the thought behind it, were you in support of tweet, and what was the point of sending it out?
“I am supporting. Obviously it’s my agent. I have to support him. That was his decision to make that tweet. He definitely wants to protect me, wants the best opportunity for myself, so I think he was definitely helping me in that situation.That’s your job to discuss and all that stuff. You understand there’s a lot of business stuff going on and everything. Of like I can not probably talk about 90% of that, you guys can only see 10% of what’s going on actually behind the curtains. But I mean, I love my time being Calgary Flame. I’m enjoying it every day. I love the fans, I love the city. Like I said last summer, I would love to be Calgary Flame for my whole life. But I mean, the business side, sometimes stuff happens, you know? So I mean, my agent’s got to protect me at some points for sure.”
Leslie followed up, asking directly if he’s asked for a trade.
“Well, we’ve been discussing it. Like I said, I cannot really say a lot of stuff. Maybe it’s going to be time when I’m going to be able to share it with you, for sure.”
The Athletic’s Julian McKenzie asked how Zadorov feels about his ice time.
“Well, I mean, I’m not controlling it. I can feel whatever I want, but the coaches are controlling it, you know? My job is to go out there and compete. That’s what I’m bringing every night. At the end of the day, it’s my eleventh year in the league and it’s all about my teammates right now, so I feel like that’s not a really proper situation for a team right now for sure in this regards. I would be pissed off if I would be them if I see that from my teammate but I hope they can understand one day for sure. I’ve been focusing on being a great teammate my whole life. I think if you ask the guys around the league who’ve played with me, I hope nobody said a bad word about me. You know, I always step in for the guy, I would always help, I would always be for the guy, and I would always kill for any of my teammates on the ice and that’s what I’m going to keep doing it every night I get an opportunity to play in this league and be humble.”
Leslie followed up again, asking (given there’s things Zadorov can’t discuss), why have the agent go public?
“You got to ask him. I’m a player. I’m playing hockey. He’s doing my business. I trust him in that. He thought that was the good decision to do it, I have to support him.”
The 28-year-old Zadorov is in the second year of a two-year contract that pays him $3.75 million against the cap, and in his third season with the Flames overall. He’s fifth among Flames blueliners in time on ice, a spot he’s held since arriving with the Flames: he slots into the top four if somebody is injured, but he’s primarily been a third pairing defender.
A quick skim of CapFriendly shows that very few teams have the ability to accommodate a contract like Zadorov’s without sending one of their own players the other way – heck, 16 teams (including Calgary) began Sunday using long-term injury relief to be cap compliant and another nine teams had less than $3.75 million in cap space. The long the Flames wait to make moves, the more teams would likely be able to afford the contracts of the players they would like to move, and in theory the better trade returns for those players would be.
In other words: for purely economic reasons alone, don’t expect a resolution to Zadorov’s situation to emerge rapidly. It might take awhile.
The Flames are back in action on Tuesday in Montreal.
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