Evgenii Dadonov’s curious and confounding NHL career

Welcome to 10 Insights and Observations. Each week, I will use this space to cover teams, players, storylines, and general thoughts about the NHL.

This week we’ll be talking about Victor Hedman and the Tampa Bay powerplay, Barrett Hayton coming into his own, a motivated Evgeny Dadonov, a 2-on-0, a faceoff scrimmage and more.

Yevgeny Dadonov's career in the NHL was full of ups and downs.  (Photo via AR)
Yevgeny Dadonov’s career in the NHL was full of ups and downs. (Photo via AR)

Curious career of Evgeny Dadonov

Evgeny Dadonov has one of the most bizarre career arcs I can think of. A third-round pick in 2007, he stayed in the KHL for two more seasons after that before coming to North America in 2009/10 and putting time on him. He played 76 AHL games that season.

He tossed between the AHL and the NHL for the next two years, before returning to the KHL at 24 — when the NHL was in a half-season lockout — and staying there. He had 30 goals and 66 points in 53 games in his last season there and then went on to score 19 points in 18 playoff games.

He wanted to return to the NHL, and Florida won a reasonable war for his services. Dadonov did not disappoint in his three campaigns for the Panthers, scoring consecutive 28-goal seasons and a 25-goal season in his contract year.

From there, he signed a contract with the Senators, and things went awry. His playing style didn’t match DJ Smith at all and he struggled, eventually getting sent into the deal.

His play recovered with the Golden Knights as he had a 20-goal season but they were having cap issues and were hoping to send his money in an awkward situation when the deal was announced, but he took advantage of the no-trade clause and canceled it. He then had to play the rest of the season in Vegas. To his credit, he played well.

Last summer, he was traded for Shea Weber’s contract, and he was hardly interested in playing hockey for a frankly bad Montreal team.

He was acquired by the Stars at the exchange deadline and looks like a new person. He scored eight points in 10 games playing alongside Jamie Benn and Wyatt Johnston on the opposing team. He’s had better moments since joining Dallas, but look at the effort here to get the puck back, win the battle, and pass it to Max Domi (who throws a terrific plate pass) for the overtime win. The skill has always been there, and getting a motivated and engaged Dadonov is a really quiet but nice addition.

Deja vu for Stecher

Troy Stecher going to do it again? Last season, Drew Doughty was injured by Los Angeles, and Stecher was bought almost for nothing (a seventh-round pick). While his numbers won’t surprise you, he played roughly 18 and a half minutes per game for the Kings and was on the right side in terms of shot share and chance creation.

He wasn’t the reason the Kings made the playoffs and they lost in the first round, but he gave them good minutes as they tried to pull together their defense from such a big loss.

Despite good results, Stecher did not have a free agent market and ended up signing with Arizona. At the deadline, he was traded again for a very small amount in a four-player trade with the Flames, highlighted by the Ritchie brothers’ trade. He doesn’t play much in Calgary, just over 14 minutes per game, but in a defensive role, along with Nikita Zadorov, he helps bolster the Flames’ defense, giving them a third pair they can reasonably trust.

Stetcher has limits, but if Calgary succeeds, it will be the second year in a row that he moved to the bubble team on time and helped them get there.

Lightning improves what was already power

Victor Hedman had an impressive offensive record last year, scoring 20 goals and scoring 85 points. Those numbers were third among NHL defensemen as he played over 25 minutes per game. He also scored 38 points on the powerplay, which not only outpaced Tampa, but was also the highest scoring of any defenseman.

As a team, Tampa’s power play finished in eighth place with a 23.9%. What has been interesting this season is that Hedman’s power-play time on ice has dropped from 3:35 last season to 2:51 this season, and his manpower has also declined as he has zero goals. and 12 gears.

A big benefactor has been Mikhail Sergachev, whose powerplay time has increased by nearly a minute, offsetting that drop for Hedman, and Tampa’s powerplay has actually performed better, ranking second this season with 25.4%.

As the teams really focused on the Lightning’s half-wall guns – Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov – they adjusted by throwing more pucks into the center so Briden Point could feast on them. Point leads Tampa on powerplay goals with 17 goals, and Stamkos’ powerplay shots are down 60 from last season, as are spot shots, whether through Hedman or Sergachev.

It’s a game of bread and butter for Tampa, and you’ll notice that Sergachev is in the spotlight, not Hedman. It works all the way around the wall, Sergachev going down the line to pull the defender and playing a quick two-man game with Kucherov to clear space while Point slips away for what ends up being an easy goal.

There’s a lot of focus on Lightning shooters, but they’ve made minor adjustments and improved their power play quite subtly.

It’s not all bad for the Coyotes

Take a look at the standings since Feb. 1 and you’ll notice that the Arizona Coyotes are in the top 10 in scoring percentage during that time. Clayton Keller is second in the entire league with 31 points in 19 games over that period. He’s already scored 30+ goals and scored 70+ points for the first time in his career, and he’s off the hook. It’s a stepping stone, and it’s clearly been fantastic, but just below that, perhaps a more positive development.

Barrett Hayton scored 19 points in those 19 games – he had 24 points in 60 games in his rookie season last year. It helps him that he plays with Keller, but he is not a passenger on this line, and this clearly benefits his confidence. It’s a legitimate scorer goal from Hayton when he pulls the puck in like he’s going to trick it into the far post and then hits it from the short side and cleanly beats Filip Gustavsson.

Hayton was selected fifth overall in 2018, one pick after the Ottawa drafted Brady Tkachuk, and Arizona has been a mess the whole time. Because he was drafted so long ago, it’s hard to accept that this is only his second full season in the league. Hayton has only played 162 games, but he’s starting to show signs of life, playing a legitimate 1C role. He and Keller are in a positive position in terms of shot share, expected goals and actual goals in a 5-on-5 game with a 32-21 lead. In Arizona!

Since becoming the Arizona Coyotes in 2014, they have not had a single scoring center. Although, they may have finally just sketched a project and started developing it.

What’s going on with 2-on-0?

One would think that in the NHL, game 2 against the goaltender is almost automatic, but this is not always the case. Here’s what we’ve seen over the past week, starting with John Tavares and Michael Bunting:

Then Matt Duchene and Thomas Novak did the following:

And finally, Patrick Laine and Johnny Gaudreau failed their attempt (although they scored immediately after):

What’s going on here? Is it difficult to play 2 on 0? All three examples represent different approaches, but they all smell of rethinking. Passing too late (and backhanding?) in the first, essentially a break in the second, then slowing down to the stopping point and passing in the third.

It should be very easy to execute: both players enter with speed and the first pass is either a single into the net because the keeper is not fully committed to slipping, or the keeper is slipping hard and it is a one-touch response. for cutting.

An easy way to drive the coaching staff crazy

We love a good faceoff game and sometimes the simpler the better. In this game of the Hurricanes against the Jets, we see a Carolina winger win, who loops high in the center of the court and simply passes to Brady Skew, who has all the time in the world to skate. , choose its angle and shoot.

With Martin Necas crossing the line, it’s almost a peak game because he gets in the way of anyone rushing towards the defender. But two Jets players actively using the puck since they both followed him just can’t happen there at all. Before the puck is dropped, both players must know their responsibilities and one of them – almost certainly a winger – must go to the defender. Such a goal will drive the coaching staff crazy.

Hamilton reaches new heights

Devils blueliner Dougie Hamilton ranks second among all defensemen in goals scored over the past seven seasons. Because he’s not overly physical, it seems like people forget that he’s 6ft 6in, 230lbs and how that can benefit the rest of his game, especially his hitting, which is an absolute bomb. At that size and weight, he can actually lean on the puck and his wrist will come off quite a bit. This piece is from last season, but it’s a good example:

It’s almost unassuming. He doesn’t have to lean at all to get a great shot. It’s almost like a golf swing where he stands up straight and just works the magic of the combination of his club, size and weight shift. When it’s one time, it’s a rocket.

It’s a one-shot shot without a screen, and the goalkeeper isn’t even competitive. He just blows on it. Unlike defenders like Roman Josi and Cale Makar who also score goals, Hamilton hardly does it with his feet. He doesn’t actually cut through the neutral zones or make those flashy runs, although he will join the rush without the puck and find a place to hit. By and large, he just hits the puck past the goalkeepers.

He has already scored a career-high 64 points (in 68 games) and…

Source: sports.yahoo.com

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