The NHL canceled the transfer of winger Evgenii Dadonov from Vegas to Anaheim on Wednesday, bringing an end to an ugly drama that lasted more than 48 hours past the deadline and left the Golden Knights in a salary limit bind as they battle for a playoff spot.
The 33-year-old Russian winger provided a list of ten teams to which he would not allow a trade under the rules of his contract, which he signed with Ottawa in 2020.
“The National Hockey League announced today that it has invalidated Monday’s trade of Player Evgenii Dadonov from Vegas to Anaheim,” the league said in a statement.
“The trade could not be conducted because Dadonov’s contract includes a limited no-trade clause, which has not been complied with”
As things stand, Dadonov’s three-year, $15 million deal with the Ottawa Senators in 2020 has a limited no-trade clause that names the Ducks as one of the teams Dadonov was contractually permitted to block a trade to.
The Golden Knights, on the other hand, reportedly claimed on Monday that they were unaware of this clause being in effect, implying that Ottawa either did not disclose it this offseason or that Dadonov did not file it in time ahead of his trade to Vegas, and was still dealt to the Ducks, thereby violating the clause in Dadonov’s contract.
While there is nothing in the rules that prevents Vegas from completing a late-season trade and sending Dadonov to a team that is not on his no-trade list, the team is anticipated to keep him.
Any other option, though legal, might raise eyebrows from the league office and players’ union for a team that has manufactured its own cap problems, been plagued by injuries, and lost seven of its last nine games to fall out of the Western Conference playoff picture.
The team said in a statement, “The Vegas Golden Knights recognize the league’s decision and welcome Evgenii back to our club.”
Vegas attempted to deal Dadonov and a future second-round selection to Anaheim in exchange for injured defenseman John Moore and the contract of inactive centre Ryan Kesler, who has not played since 2019 and is unlikely to return.
The idea was to free up salary cap space so that captain Mark Stone and defenseman Alec Martinez could be activated from long-term injured reserve.
Dadonov had his eighth NHL season split between two stints and time in the KHL. Dadonov has been back in North America since 2017, when he rejoined the Florida Panthers, and he would have been on his fourth team if the move had been completed.
It is thought to be the first NHL transaction that has been cancelled since 2017, when Russian winger Alexander Korolyuk chose to stay in the KHL rather than pursue his career in North America.
The New Jersey Devils agreed to transfer Korolyuk to the San Jose Sharks, who stated at the time that the move was conditional on him reporting to the NHL.