Evgenii Dadonov wants to quickly shed the label of ‘the guy traded for Shea Weber’ and become a fan favourite with Montreal Canadiens fans. Montreal has always been a favourite road stop for the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Russian winger who was acquired from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for the most recent captain of the Montreal Canadiens and now he’s hoping spark the Bell Centre into the raucous frenzies it’s become know for around the NHL.
“When I played at the Bell Centre, I always liked the atmosphere in the arena. It’s still kind of a new building, but it feels like there’s a lot of history here, too,” Evgenii Dadonov told Canadiens.com recently. “As it goes along, I’ll get used to it and it’ll be like home.”
By moving out Shea Weber, who won’t play again in the NHL, the Canadiens are now free from the final four seasons of Weber’s contract that carried a $7.8 million salary cap hit. They now inherit the final season of Dadonov’s three-year contract that he signed with the Ottawa Senators in the 2020 offseason and that carries a $5 million cap hit. As a result of the trade, the Canadiens have gained $2.8 million in cap space. Dadonov is hoping to prove to his teammates and Montreal Canadiens fans that they have gained more than just cap space.
The former Golden Knights, Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers winger, who will be reunited with former Panthers teammates and current Montreal Canadiens, Mike Matheson, Mike Hoffman, Samuel Montembeault and Chris Wideman, raved about a solid showing of fans who recently came to a meet-and-greet with him at the Canadiens Pro Shop.
“It’s good to know that people are waiting for you. It was nice to spend time with the fans. I appreciated that,” Dadonov said. “Meeting everybody was exciting. I always knew what kind of fans were in Montreal, but I never felt their passion for myself. It’s a new experience for me and I can’t wait to play for them. I’m already imagining what it’s going to be like with 21,000 people in the building.”
Dadonov had 20 goals and 23 assists in 78 games for the Golden Knights in the 2021-22 regular season. In 413 regular season games with the Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators, and Golden Knights, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound forward has 124 goals and 141 assists. A 2007 third round pick by the Florida Panthers (71st overall), Dadonov has one assist in four Stanley Cup playoff games.