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Evan’s NHL Daily: Zadorov Contract Conundrum, Mouthguard Toss

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Nikita Zadorov became an extremely popular man in Vancouver after he was acquired prior to the NHL Trade Deadline. He scored some big goals for the Canucks during their playoff run, and his personality off the ice won the hearts of everyone in British Columbia. It seemed like a contract extension was a no brainer for the big man. Not so fast.

The Blue Jackets are looking to finally become relevant in the NHL, hiring Don Waddell and giving him every important title you could possibly think of. Is that enough to change the fortune of arguably the most irrelevant team in the league?

In Colorado, some new contract projections show that it might be a tough summer for the Avalanche.

All that and more in this Thursday edition of Evan’s Daily.

Colorado Hockey Now

It doesn’t look like Andrei Buyalsky, a third round pick in 2021, has had a tough go of it in North America and is headed back overseas.

If the Avalanche want to re-sign Sean Walker, Jonathan Drouin, or Yakov Trenin, they’ll likely have to wiggle some things around.

CHN

Zadorov Contract Conundrum

Nikita Zadorov apparently turned down a contract extension in Vancouver prior to the playoffs. After putting up eight points in 13 postseason games for the Canucks, I imagine his price has gone up even more.

There are rumblings out there that Zadorov turned down a five year deal in the $4.5 million per year range. I’d be fascinated to see if another NHL team gave him a better deal. I do love Big Z, but he’s not a big point producer and is still prone to the big mistake. If he hits the open market, is a team going to go above $5 million a year? I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable with that number, personally. There are even rumors he’s looking for $6 million a year, which I really can’t see him getting.

He’ll be a popular guy if he hits free agency, but teams have to be careful here.

Waddell In Columbus

Will things finally change in Columbus? They’ve been irrelevant in the NHL for years, in large part due to poor management. Don Waddell had a great run in Carolina, even if he didn’t find a way to get that team over the hump. Columbus would gladly take some consistent playoff runs compared to what they’ve seen the last two decades.

His first order of business might be figuring out what to do in net.

Merzlikins will make $5.4 million for a few more seasons, but hasn’t played anywhere close to what you’d expect from a $5.4 million goalie. He also doesn’t have much help in front of him, so what will Waddell do? Get rid of the goalie or try to put a better team in front of him? I still think this team is a few years off making the playoffs, but maybe they can finally get on the right track.

Oilers Tie It Up

The Western Conference Finals are all tied up, as the Edmonton Oilers look a lot more competitive than I expected. They also might the caught a real break on Wednesday night.

Chris Tanev, who shut down Nathan MacKinnon last series, left the game and didn’t return after blocking a shot with his right leg. If he can’t go, the Stars might be in trouble. They already don’t play their sixth defenseman, so that puts them in even more of a pickle.

National Hockey Now

What the Penguins have on the way in Brayden Yager (+)

A nice comeback from Matthew Tkachuk after Chris Kreider tried to throw his mouthguard into the stands.

That next contract extension for Travis Konecny carries significant risk for the Flyers.

There’s a reason why the Red Wings traded Hronek (+)

Why Sheldon Keefe will have success in New Jersey.

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