In the Dadonov trade necessity was the mother of invention

February 27, 2023

On Sunday, the Montreal Canadiens made their first trade of the 2023 trade deadline window when they dealt forward Evgenii Dadonov to the Dallas Stars for forward Denis Gurianov. There are a few things worth noting in this deal.

Any return is gravy where Dadonov is concerned.

The Habs got their money’s worth with Dadonov last summer when acquiring him allowed them to offload the cumbersome Shea Weber contract. Hughes could have let him play out the year and walk to free agency, and it would have been just fine. The Canadiens would have his cap space open up, along with the LTIR space they gained last summer. It was already a tidy bit of business.

The acquisition is low risk.

Gurianov turns 26 this summer, so he’s still relatively young. His season has been less than glowing, but had 20 goals in the 2019-20 season along with a brilliant performance for Dallas in that year’s playoffs. That level of production has not been sustained, but there is obviously an underlying skillset. A change of scenery may revive the player, and it may not.

The only bet the Habs made in this deal was that they would get more from Gurianov than they would from a late round pick with low odds to even make the NHL. They could let him walk in the summer, qualify him, or re-sign him to less than his qualifying offer, and all would be low risk while they’re in these rebuild years. In the short term, he’s a legitimate NHLer who can fill a roster spot for the rest of the season.

Kent Hughes is willing to be creative at this deadline.

Hughes was approaching this deadline with three UFAs, all of questionable value. Then the Winnipeg Jets got Nino Niederreiter for a 2nd round pick and it became obvious that the market for a guy like Dadonov would not be strong. He made a quick pivot and landed Gurianov. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention.

We won’t know just how creative Hughes is prepared to get until 3 p.m. EST on Friday, but this one deal is a reasonable first offering.

I’m not writing off the possibility of this being a meaningful window of change just yet.

Published by Lori Bennett

Hockey is my hobby. I love a respectful hockey chat or debate, but it stops being fun if we're jerks.

One thought on “In the Dadonov trade necessity was the mother of invention

  1. Hi Lori. Just one of the little surprises from Hughes that we’ve been expecting. I’m all for a big surprise but I can accept small surprises that make incremental improvements in skill and/or flexibility. The deadline approaches quickly. David


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