By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter! @andrewlindrothh
The Boston Bruins once again fell short of their ultimate goal of raising the Stanley Cup. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has his work cut out for him this off-season, and the possibility of Torey Krug not re-signing with the Bruins seems to becoming a reality. Sweeney didn’t hold back during his press conference regarding much-needed changes for the team, “We’re looking to make some changes in our group. I feel very good about the overall organization, where we are, and how competitive we are. But I’m not doing my job if I’m not looking to improve our hockey club on a daily basis, without being dissatisfied.”
If Krug does not re-sign with the Bruins, that will leave a significant amount of cap space left-over, and one of the priorities for the Bruins should be looking for a top-six forward. One soon-to-be unrestricted free agent that the Bruins could undoubtedly benefit from having is Evgenii Dadonov. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons if the Bruins were to acquire Dadonov.https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
The 5’11, 185-pound forward is a top-six winger that can bring significant secondary scoring for the Bruins. This past season, Dadonov scored 25 goals, marking his third straight 25+ goal campaign (28 goals each of the previous two seasons). Although he is a left-shot, he primarily plays on the right-wing so that would compliment David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk (if the Bruins re-sign him) very well. If the team chooses not to re-sign DeBrusk, it’s a possibility that Dadonov could be slotted onto the left-wing with Ondrej Kase on the right-wing.
Dadonov produced 47 points in 69 games played this past season but has proven to be capable of much more than that. Once he returned to the NHL in 2017-2018 after a five-year stint in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), he contributed 65 points in 74 games. The following season, Dadonov suited up for all 82 games and scored 70 points. There is no doubt he can eclipse 70-80 points if he were to create chemistry with Krejci and DeBrusk/Kase.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibvpKS3JxjI&w=560&h=315]
Dadonov could also contribute on the power-play but hasn’t shown anything special that he would make a significant difference for the Bruins, who have one of the top power-play units in the NHL. This past season, the forward potted 11 power-play goals and 17 power-play points. His main contribution (and an area that the Bruins need significant improvement) will be his offensive ability during 5-on-5 situations.
Also, Dadonov rarely sees time in the penalty box ,and coaches love a player they can utilize on the ice at all times due to strict discipline. In the past three campaigns, the winger has accrued only 26 PIM in 225 games played.
One of the most significant setbacks for Dadonov joining the Bruins is his age and how much money he will demand. The 31-year-old forward is coming off a three-year deal worth $4M AAV. With that being said, Dadonov does not play on the penalty-kill, and his defensive game is sub-par compared to his offensive abilities.
For the Bruins, asking for more than $4M AAV is entirely unrealistic, especially if he is only playing second-line minutes and some on the power-play. With three strong seasons under his belt, Dadonov could easily command more than $4M+ AAV in free agency. Another issue is that if the Bruins keep DeBrusk and Kase, then acquiring Dadonov may not be as crucial. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy could slot him on Charlie Coyles’ line, but $4M+ per season is a lot of money for a third-line winger.
Another critical factor to consider is the lack of playoff experience Dadonov has at the NHL level, and the incredible pressure of playing for the Boston Bruins compared to the Florida Panthers. It’s also important to note that although Dadonov isn’t considered undersized, but he is certainly not the physical forward the Bruins have been searching for (example, the Ritchie brothers).[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3NpWqowC30&w=560&h=315]
Overall, Dadonov would be a great offensive option for the Bruins. But with young talent such as; Anders Bjork, Jack Studnicka, Trent Fredric, Zach Senyshyn, and Karson Kuhlman looking to make the jump to the NHL, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a vacant spot for Dadonov. The forward certainly checks the boxes as the offensive talent the Bruins are looking to play alongside Krejci.
Despite his offensive abilities, Dadonov is 31-years-old and will most likely command more than $4M AAV in free agency. Unless the Bruins can talk him into a team-friendly deal, I don’t think his offensive abilities alone are worth it for the Bruins to spend that much money. It will be exciting to see what moves Sweeney makes soon. The free-agent market will open at noon EST on October 9th.