Now that we’ve got the trade deadline in the books for another year, it’s time to focus on the playoff races. Like last season, it’s going to come down to the last day, which makes for some exciting hockey heading into the post season.
Evgenii Dadonov has followed an interesting path to being an NHL regular. He was drafted by the Panthers in the third round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. In 2008-09, he scored seven points in as many World Junior Hockey Championship matches. Dadonov spent his first season in North America in the AHL, recording 40 points in 76 games while getting a taste of the NHL (four games, no points). The next season was split between the AHL, where he scored 16 points in 24 contests, and the NHL with 17 points in 36 matches. In the final year of his entry level contract, Dadonov played only 15 NHL games, recording three points along with nine points in 20 AHL contests.
The Russian winger spent the next five seasons in the KHL, culminating in last year’s 30 goals and 66 points in 53 games. He added 19 points in 18 playoff games for SKA St. Petersburg. In the last three World Championships, Dadonov has recorded a cumulative 32 points over 30 contests. He also represented Team Russia at the World Cup, recording one point in four games.
All that seasoning has led to this season. The 28-year-old stormed out of the gate with 14 points in his first 11 games, but then he encountered some struggles and injury issues, resulting in only seven points in his next 20 contests. He’s turned it on again with 20 points over his last 20 matches.
Dadonov averages 18:52 minutes per game and is firmly entrenched on the Panthers top power play unit. He’s heating up down the stretch and could finish with 30 goals and more than 60 points. I’d say that his second stint in the NHL is going quite well.
Team by Team Quick Hits by Conference
If newly acquired Rick Nash can produce as well as Riley Nash has over the last two weeks, the Bruins will be happy as a clam. The lesser known Nash has five points over the last seven games.
Ryan O’Reilly is absolutely dominating the face-off dot. His 962 face-off wins is 188 more than the next best, Sidney Crosby, who has 774 wins.
Andreas Athanasiou has five points in the last eight games. He will finish the season with a new career high, possibly 40 points. It will be interesting to see how contract talks go during the off-season after this year’s delay in signing a one-year deal.
One player who is taking it to the next level and not getting much recognition is Vincent Trocheck. Over the last two seasons, he has recorded 53 and 54 points. He already has 55 points and is one goal short of his career best 24. On pace for 33 goals and 76 points, Trocheck is also surprisingly ninth in the NHL in shots on goal with 214 and might hit 300 by seasons end.
Heading into last night’s match, Brendan Gallagher had 12 po