Canadiens Trade Review: Dadonov for Gurianov Outcome
The Montreal Canadiens had very little to lose when traded Evgenii Dadonov to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Denis Gurianov at the 2023 Trade Deadline.
Dadonov, 34, was struggling to produce in Martin St-Louis’ system in addition to being an impending free agent.
That’s not to say he was playing poorly.
If anything, Dadonov deserved to have his name added to the scoresheet with a lot more frequency during his tenure with the Canadiens.
But there’s no such thing as ‘deserve’ in sports.
With just 14 points in 50 games, the Canadiens were lucky to receive anything of value for Dadonov’s expiring rights. And though they didn’t acquire a blue chip asset, they certainly decided to swing for the fences when they acquired Gurianov. He was younger, faster, and looking for a fresh start.
A team like Montreal presented a perfect opportunity to turn the page on the disappointing end to his time with the Stars.
Hot Start, Quick Fade
Gurianov got off to a great start.
Not only did he have a penchant for driving the net, it took him a little over a game to score his first goal in a Canadiens uniform.
For a team that desperately lacked shooting talent, he seemed like a godsend.
Gurianov’s first goal as a Hab and it’s a rocket pic.twitter.com/VqvrUasInl
— Habs Fan TV (@habsfantv_) March 3, 2023
But the concerns that arose in Dallas quickly came to the forefront.
The biggest red flag was his lack of defensive awareness. Gurianov knows what to do in the offensive zone, but it’s doubtful he could identify his own goaltender in a police lineup.
The lack of balance in his style of play meant that if he was not helping in the offensive zone he quickly became a player that made a negative impact.
The inconsistencies in his game, mostly work ethic and production related, meant that he was a liability on most nights, as evidenced by the final 10 games of the season in which he was kept off the scoresheet.
His tumultuous 23-game audition with the Canadiens ended with Gurianov earning five goals and three assists, but more alarmingly, the team also struggled to control the play whenever he was on the ice, to the tune of less than 40 percent of the quality scoring chances.
The Montreal Canadiens could very well re-sign the speedy winger, but they’ll have to be cautious with contract offers.
Strong Start, Sustained Offence
Dadonov scored a goal just a few shifts into his first game with the Stars, and he has not looked back since.
Evgenii Dadonov takes Johnston's pass up the center of the ice and tallies a beauty in his Stars debut!#TexasHockey pic.twitter.com/SbOqVEdC3Y
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) February 28, 2023
He ended up scoring three goals and 12 assists in 23 games while playing as a depth forward, and has since added four goals and four assists in 11 playoff matchups.
As previously mentioned, Dadonov’s production numbers in Montreal did not represent a fair assessment of his talent, which made his sudden uptick in scoring rather predictable.
Agreed. His production really isn't flattering to his play in recent weeks.
He's been good.
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) February 12, 2023
But it wasn’t just a matter of receiving a fresh start.
As is often the case, it was all about his usage.
Dadonov is primarily used in a third-line role with the Stars, which was the case in Montreal, but the biggest difference is the quality of the teammates he’s getting.
His most common linemates in Montreal were players who were also struggling to find their rhythm, players like Christian Dvorak, Mike Hoffman, and Joel Armia, whereas the Stars found the perfect recipe when they added him to a line featuring Jamie Benn and Wyatt Johnson, both of whom scored more than 20 goals this season.
The deal was a clear win for the Stars, who are currently well on their way to featuring in the Western Conference Championship.
But considering the situation at the deadline, you’d be hard-pressed to argue the deal should be considered a loss for the Habs, regardless of whether they offer Gurianov a contract this summer.
In all likelihood, they would have let Dadonov walk as a free agent. He simply did not fit into the style of play St-Louis wanted to instill in Montreal, and was one among many veterans who struggled to earn ice time.
It was a smart bet by Kent Hughes and Co. that simply did not pay off.
He won’t be the last player to struggle in a certain system, a lesson worth keeping in mind as the Montreal Canadiens enter the most crucial stage of their rebuild.
Usage is key when analyzing a player’s impact, and rebuilding teams simply cannot afford to give players like Dadonov a cushy assignment, it would be detrimental to their long-term plans as it would rob young players of precious minutes.
However, kudos must be given to the Stars’ professional scouts. They identified a player that had the potential to perform better if used in a different situation, and their hunch certainly paid off.
All statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted, via NaturalStatTrick.
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he’s on the Dallas stars second line.
Yeah and Forsburg is still head over heels better
While Dadonov wasn’t a fit in MSL’s system, he was for Pete DeBoer‘s while in Vegas. Dadonov was acquired by Dallas because DeBoer knew he would be a good fit for what he wanted in his line combinations. And that’s why he’s having success now unlike while he was in Montreal.
If Marty knew how to teach defense he would have done it by now.
OK, lets piece this together…
All excerpts from the article:
Dadonov is primarily used in a third-line role with the Stars, which was the case in Montreal, but the biggest difference is the quality of the teammates he’s getting.In all likelihood, they would have let Dadonov walk as a free agent.The deal was a clear win for the StarsWell OBVIOUSLY, he would have done better with the Habs if they had better players on his line? Duh! Same would have been for Guri on the Habs, don’t you think?
And if they were going to let him walk, then getting ANYTHING for him in that trade was a good thing. Duh!
Finally, the Stars did NOT win that trade. Verdict has NOT yet been declared. None of us know exactly what is going to come of Guri next season, or the one after, etc. He may eventually produce numbers like Dad did a few seasons ago. Even if he gets 30-40 something pts on a third line – that is winning this trade, over a guy who in all likelihood won’t be playing in the NHL within 3 years from now.
Let’s just wait and see what happens first before we are quick to judge…