Golden Knights trade Evgenii Dadonov and conditional second-round pick to Ducks

Vegas receives defenseman John Moore and Ryan Kesler’s contract in return.

Note: This story has been updated.

[Update: Wednesday, March 23]

The National Hockey League officially nullified the Evgenii Dadonov trade between the Vegas Golden Knights and Anaheim Ducks because it violated the terms of Dadonov’s no-trade clause.

The decision was announced two days after the trade deadline.

Dadonov’s contract features a 10-team no-trade list, which includes the Anaheim Ducks. The Golden Knights and NHL reportedly were not aware of the details or existence of this no-trade list, which is why the deal went through originally.

The decision reversed the transaction that would have sent Dadonov along with a conditional second-round draft pick to Anaheim in exchange for defenseman John Moore and the contract of Ryan Kesler.

The unprecedented blip will force the Golden Knights to be salary-cap-compliant despite retaining Dadonov’s $5 million cap hit. The trade would have offered nearly $3.4 million in cap relief.

However, the Golden Knights can still move Dadonov to another team (assuming it is not on his no-trade list). NHL teams can complete trades after the trade deadline, but all players involved in such deals are ineligible to play in the regular season or playoffs.

With 31 teams fully aware of Vegas’ predicament, however, the Golden Knights may have to spend up to make it work.

Dadonov is signed through the end of the 2022-23 campaign.

[Update: Monday, March 21]

The Vegas Golden Knights seemingly completed a trade with the Anaheim Ducks involving Evgenii Dadonov, a conditional second-round pick and two Ducks players ahead of the trade deadline Monday afternoon; the deal wasn’t made official until hours later.

However, a potential issue with Dadonov’s no-trade list — which reportedly includes the Ducks — has come to light, calling the transaction into question.

The NHL and NHLPA are currently involved in investigating the matter further.

The Golden Knights, Ducks and Senators (Dadonov’s former team) are all involved as well.

[Original story]

The Vegas Golden Knights have moved on from forward Evgenii Dadonov.

The Golden Knights shipped Dadonov along with a conditional second-round draft pick to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for defenseman John Moore and the contract of forward Ryan Kesler.

The deal was arranged ahead of Monday’s trade deadline but was not made official until nearly five hours past the noon deadline.

Dadonov has one year remaining on a deal carrying an AAV of $5 million, so this move clears some much-needed cap space in both the short term and for next season. The Golden Knights’ cap situation is a mess, with both Mark Stone and Alec Martinez accounting for a combined $14.75 million on long-term injured reserve, but this offers the Knights a little breathing room.

Moore’s AAV is $2.75 million, though his projected cap hit for this year and next is $1.625 million since he cleared waivers. Kesler is on an expiring contract but has not played since 2018-19; Vegas can put his $6.875 million cap hit on LTIR.

The Golden Knights acquired Dadonov last summer in an offseason trade with the Senators that sent Vegas’ 2022 second-round pick along with defenseman Nick Holden to Ottawa.

The 33-year-old was brought in to provide scoring depth and help improve Vegas’ power play. The Golden Knights knew Alex Tuch would miss the first few months of the season due to shoulder surgery, and the hope was that Dadonov would bounce back from a down year in Ottawa after scoring 25-plus goals in three straight seasons in Florida.

That did not happen.

At the time of the trade, general manager Kelly McCrimmon said of the Russian winger:

“He was a player that we had a lot of regard for. There were some good forwards available in free agency that we liked that we would’ve turned to had we not completed the trade with Ottawa. Our priority was this player and we were happy to add him. I think he’s going to fit in very well.”

It’s safe to say things did not go according to plan.

Dadonov was never able to settle in and contribute on a reliable basis in his time in Sin City. He was a decent play-driver who generated plenty of scoring chances but failed to convert more often than not.

He played throughout the lineup and skated with a wide variety of linemates; Pete DeBoer even relegated him to fourth-line duties a few weeks ago. Ironically, he had his best stretch leading up to the deadline, scoring four goals in his last four games and three in his last two.

But he was streaky all season and had just six power-play points in 62 games.

He’ll finish his Vegas tenure with 15 goals and 27 points in 62 games, but he had just 10 goals through 55 games.

Moore has 38 goals and 118 points in 544 career regular-season games with the Blue Jackets, Rangers, Coyotes, Devils and Bruins.

A hip injury has kept Kesler out of the NHL over the last three seasons. He has 258 goals and 573 points in 1,001 career games with the Canucks and Ducks.

Vegas will not face Anaheim in the final 18 games of the 2021-22 regular season.