The Vancouver Canucks are apparently still interested in adding tall defencemen.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday that the Canucks are a team interested in adding Nikita Zadorov, the towering Russian defenceman who has asked for a trade away from the Calgary Flames.
It’s not the first time the Canucks have taken a look at Zadorov: they had interest in trading for him in June, ahead of the opening of free agency, a league source told Postmedia.
But the idea was obviously shelved after the Canucks landed Carson Soucy as an unrestricted free agent.
As several have pointed out, Zadorov is represented by agent Dan Milstein, who also represents Canucks forwards Andrei Kuzmenko and Ilya Mikheyev.
Zadorov carries a $3.75 million cap hit; his contract expires this summer.
Zadorov is mostly known for his physical game, but he has shown a nose for the net at times: last season he scored 14 goals.
Zadorov’s Flames played the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night, and Zadorov threw a big hit on Tyler Bertuzzi, leading Milstein to tweet about his client’s potential.
“That was (my agent’s) decision to make that tweet. He wants the best opportunity for (me),” Zadorov told Sportsnet 960 radio in Calgary after the Flames lost 4-1 to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.
Friedman reported on Saturday that the Maple Leafs are also interested in Zadorov.
Zadorov is a left-shot defenceman, but he can play on the right side as well, like Soucy.
That said, Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet has been reticent to play left-hand shots on the right side, especially as partner to Quinn Hughes.
But if the Canucks were to trade for Zadorov, you know he’d be in the lineup right away — the question is for who. He’s not going in for Soucy, Hughes or Ian Cole, who all play on the left side (though both Cole and Soucy have played on the right).
Perhaps he’d go in for Mark Friedman, the right-shot defenceman the Canucks picked up from the Penguins last month. But Friedman has been a quietly solid surprise and it’s hard to imagine him coming out of the lineup.
Might he get in for Tyler Myers? Myers has played well of late, but his overall game has slid over his five seasons in Vancouver. The Canucks have explored trading him more than once over the past two seasons, but there haven’t been takers, obviously.
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