Senators Sign Dadonov, Brown to 3-Year Dealsby Dom Lunardo October 25, 2020 0 comments
The National Hockey League offseason is filled with much-needed rest, transactions aplenty, player movement, and internal signings. The offseason is also a time for reflection and retooling for 31, soon 32, general managers across the league. In the case of Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion, this fall has certainly been one of the ages.
After selecting two high-caliber prospects at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft with Tim Stuetzle and Jake Sanderson, Dorion “reeled in” a big fish in the form of Evgenii Dadonov and re-signed versatile, “heart and soul” winger, Connor Brown. How significant are these signings for the city of Ottawa? What can we expect from the pair heading into 2020-21? Let’s read on and find out.
Evgenii Dadonov, RW
One of the most highly sought-after unrestricted free agents (UFAs) from the graduating class of 2020 has landed in Canada’s capital city. Born and raised in Chelyabinsk, Russia, Dadonov is a dynamic winger with a real knack for offense. Since coming over from Russia five seasons ago, Dadonov has played in 280 NHL games as a key member of the Florida Panthers. Over that time he has tallied 91 goals and 111 assists for 202 points. He’s scored at least 25 goals in each of the past three seasons and eclipsed the 65-point plateau twice. He’s big, strong, talented, and consistent as they come on the offensive side of the puck. That talent should bode well for an up-and-coming Senators team that struggled to score (and win hockey games) in 2019-20. Dadonov represents a perennial changing of the guard and a real go-to offensive weapon heading into next season.
What to Expect
In Dadonov, the Sens can look forward to an experienced, talented, and consistent offensive presence who can comfortably play in a top-6 role. At 31 years of age, he still has plenty of good hockey left in him. He has shown that he can be a real solid performer at the NHL ranks. I’m a big fan of Dadonov and think that this is a slam-dunk acquisition for Ottawa. On the financial side of things, Dadonov agreed to terms on a three-year/$15 million contract extension. When you factor in his favorable cap hit, a propensity to create offense, and prognosis heading into next season, this is a big win for Dorion and the Senators brass.
Connor Brown, RW
“Big red.” “The little leprechaun.” “Downtown Connor Brown”. Whatever the nickname, and however hockey fans want to spin it, Brown will be a key cog in the Senators lineup for the next three seasons. This past Thursday, Dorion and Brown avoided salary arbitration and agreed to terms on a three-year/$10.8 million contract extension keeping him in Kanata, Ontario for the foreseeable future. As a player, Brown is the consummate professional and a real solid top-9 forward that would be an excellent fit on any team. He’s intelligent, quick on his feet, and can play in all situations. Former Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock always sang his praises while he was in Toronto because he “brought it” every day and played the game the right way.
What to Expect
Last season, Brown set career highs in ice time (20:07), assists (27) and points (43) while only skating in 71 games due to COVID-19, which halted play in mid-March. As a member of the Senators, he emerged as one of the team’s most consistent and reliable players, and a go-to guy for first-year head coach D.J. Smith. He was drafted in the 6th round back at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Brown is one of the real “good guys” in the game, and has had to sweat and grind for everything he has ever earned as a pro. When you account for the state of the rebuilding Senators, coupled with his style-of-play, this is a player the Senators just had to retain.
No one knows how the 2020-21 NHL season will play out. However, one thing we do know is that the Senators will be a far more competitive team with the likes of Brown and Dadonov on the ice. Stay tuned, hockey fans.
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