The Calgary Flames have made their first move of the free agency period today, however it was actually a trade. The Flames have acquired defenseman Nikita Zadorov from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a 2022 3rd round pick. This was the pick acquired from Toronto for David Rittich.
Zadorov is a 6’6’’ 235 lb stay at home defenseman. He began his career with Buffalo after being drafted in the first round in 2013. He then spent five years with Colorado before being traded to Chicago before last season. As we can see from the tweet below, Zadorov thrives on shutting down opposing scoring chances, but doesn’t create anything at the other end. Seems to fit the Sutter mold very well.
Nikita Zadorov, reportedly traded to CGY, is an all-defence physical blueliner who won't do anything for you offensively and takes a lot of penalties but was a very good scoring chance suppressor this season. #CofRed pic.twitter.com/f8wcOZ18FQ— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 28, 2021
In terms of his contract, Zadorov received a 3.2M qualifying offer from Chicago as a restricted free agent. So technically as of now the Flames are acquiring his signing rights, but it sounds like the two sides are working on a contract extension right now. We will update this story if there is a new contract.
We expect this to be the first of a number of Flames transactions over the next few days and hopefully they have a big move or two up their sleeve as well.