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Evgenii Dadonov’s curious and confounding career

Evgenii Dadonov's NHL career has been full of twists and turns. (Photo via AP)

Welcome to 10 Insights and Observations. Every week, I’ll use this space to highlight teams, players, storylines and general musings around the NHL.

This week we talk about Victor Hedman and the Tampa Bay power play, Barrett Hayton coming into his own, a motivated Evgenii Dadonov, 2-on-0s, a faceoff play and much more.

Evgenii Dadonov’s NHL career has been full of twists and turns. (Photo via AP)

The curious career of Evgenii Dadonov

Evgenii Dadonov has one of the more bizarre career arcs I can remember. Drafted in the third round in 2007, he stayed in the KHL for two more seasons after that before coming to North America in 2009-10 and putting the time in. He played 76 games in the AHL that season.

The next two years he bounced between the AHL and NHL before heading back to the KHL at 24 — when the NHL had a half-season lockout — and he stayed there. He had 30 goals and 66 points in 53 games in his final season there and he followed it up with 19 points in 18 playoff games.

He wanted to return to the NHL and Florida won a reasonable bidding war for his services. Dadonov did not disappoint over his three campaigns with the Panthers, putting up back-to-back 28-goal seasons and a 25-goal season in his contract year.

From there he signed with the Senators and it started to go south. His style of play did not mesh with DJ Smith at all and he struggled, eventually getting shipped off in a trade.

His game rebounded with the Golden Knights as he had a 20-goal season, but they were in cap trouble and looked to ship off his money in an awkward situation where the trade was announced but he exercised his no-trade clause and voided it. Then he had to play out the rest of the season with Vegas. To his credit he played well.

Last summer, he was traded for Shea Weber’s contract and he hardly looked interested in playing hockey on a blatantly bad Montreal team.

He was acquired by the Stars at the trade deadline and looks like a new man. He has eight points in 10 games, playing alongside Jamie Benn and Wyatt Johnston on a contending team. He has had nicer highlights since joining Dallas but look at the effort here to get the puck back, win a battle, and pass it off to Max Domi (who makes an amazing saucer pass) for the overtime win. The skill has always been there and getting a motivated and engaged Dadonov is a really quiet but nice addition.

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