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Calgary Flames: Nikita Zadorov has asked to be traded
Hockey in Canada is definitely not at its best right now in the National Hockey League.

In fact, as my colleague Charles-Alexis Brisebois explained yesterday, apart from the Vancouver Canucks, Canadian teams are struggling, or simply not performing up to expectations.

It’s even worse if we look solely at the two Alberta teams.

The Edmonton Oilers (2-9-1) are off to an atrocious start to the season, and have just lost to the San Jose Sharks, by far the worst team in the NHL.

And as for the Calgary Flames , well, things aren’t much better.

The team has just four wins in 13 games so far this season, and the club’s top players aren’t performing.

Just ask Jonathan Huberdeau.

In short, the Flames haven’t gone out in a blaze of glory – quite the opposite, in fact – and this is starting to have a major impact on the fans, but also on the Flames’ players, who are clearly less and less inclined to stay in Calgary.

Last night, we learned that Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov has asked to be traded.

That’s what Kevin Weekes reported after the Flames’ shootout loss to the Maple Leafs.

The 28-year-old Russian defenseman would like to leave Calgary now, even though he’s a free agent at the end of the season.

Zadorov joins other Flames players who have been the subject of trade rumors for some time, namely defensemen Noah Hanifin and Christopher Tanev.

We can even add the name of forward Elias Lindholm to this list.

All four players will be free agents at the end of the season, so they could all leave and sign elsewhere.

This greatly amplifies the transaction rumours surrounding these players, given that the Flames won’t want to lose them for nothing if they can’t agree on contract extensions.

Anyway, to get back to Zadorov, he’s the only one of the four who has reportedly (so far) announced that he wants to be traded.

Naturally, Kevin Weekes’ announcement set social networks ablaze.

But why?

Well, because Zadorov is a type of defenseman that many teams would love to have, and so many fans are begging their GMs to acquire the Russian defenseman.

Zadorov is a very physical, tough defenseman who’s not afraid of anything, and he’s also very solid defensively.

He takes a lot of penalties, but otherwise, his robust play is much appreciated.

And of course, when it comes to rugged, defensive defensemen, it’s the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Chris Johnston wasted no time in spreading the rumor that Zadorov is open to packing his bags for Toronto.

Clearly, this would be an excellent acquisition for the Leafs, who desperately need defense and toughness.

This simple sequence from yesterday’s game is enough to demonstrate just how softs the Leafs are.

The funny thing is that the sequence involves the Zadorov in question.

Zadorov tackles Tyler Bertuzzi hard, and then stands there waiting for some kind of reply or some kind of player to come to Bertuzzi’s defense.

Well, Zadorov is still waiting for the reply to this day, apart from a few little pushes.

The problem for the Leafs is payroll. They have no room under the salary cap, so they’ll have to part with some salary if they want to acquire Zadorov and his $3.75M for this season.

It’s an issue to keep an eye on.

In short, Zadorov isn’t the defenseman who will fill the opposing net (his best season is 22 points), but he’s a defenseman with great utility.

If he’s really asked to be traded, you can be sure there’ll be a huge bidding war.

If you don’t believe me, just type the keyword Zadorov on Twitter (or X if you prefer), and you’ll see the number of fans from different teams who want to see the Russian defenseman join their team.

After Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, the Flames are on the verge of losing other big players.

En Rafale

– Zadorov wouldn’t go to Winnipeg. #NobodyIsSurprised

– Zadorov scored his first goal of the season yesterday against the Leafs.

– Big decisions ahead for the St. Louis Blues.

– Bravo.

– To be continued.

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