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Learning Lessons From Evgenii Dadonov’s Hot And Cold Start To The Season

It’s been an interesting start to the season for Evgenii Dadonov. A player acquired by the Golden Knights this offseason as a potential solution to the scoring droughts, Dadonov’s impact will be judged almost exclusively on point production.

His first couple weeks in Vegas were underwhelming. He posted just one assist (on a meaningless goal late in a blowout vs LA) in his first five games as a Golden Knight and he was nearly invisible on the ghastly power play.

(Photo Credit: @GoldenKnights on Twitter)

Then, things turned around. In the next five he scored a pair of goals, added an assist, and notched a game-winner in shootout. The most recent six games have have seen Dadonov score three more times, giving him five goals and eight points on the season.

Over that time, a lot has changed with the Golden Knights roster, and you can clearly see it when you look through the line mates Dadonov has played with. In his first five games in Vegas, he never played on the same line in consecutive games and played with five different line mates.

Krebs-Patrick-Dadonov
Dadonov-Patrick-Kolesar
Dadonov-Stephenson-Roy
Dadonov-Patrick-Kolesar
Dadonov-Roy-Kolesar (5 games)
Carrier-Stephenson-Dadonov (4 games)
Dadonov-Stephenson-Kolesar
Dadonov-Stephenson-Stone (2 games)

As he’s settled in with players, he’s found success. In the his first seven games with new linemates, Dadonov posted just one assist and was goal-less. In games with repeat linemates, he has three goals and two assists.

It’s not just who he’s playing with though that’s impacting his output. It’s how often.

Dadonov has played in 16 games this season. He’s played 22 or fewer shifts in 11 games. In those 11, Dadonov has not scored a single goal, has added just two assists and amassed a 0 rating. In the five games in which he’s reached at least 23 shifts, he’s scored all five of his goals, notched one assist, and has posted a +4 rating.

It’s just a few extra shifts, but that added minute or two has really mattered for Dadonov’s production so far in Vegas.

There are really two ways to look at this. First, with all the injuries, Dadonov is likely to be relied upon a little more over the next few months, which means the production from the last 11 games should be more of the norm than the first five. On the flip side though, once the Golden Knights do return to health, it’s likely Dadonov’s role will slip to a third line winger, which will mean a decrease in time on ice.

Even with Jack Eichel in the fold, the Golden Knights are going to need Dadonov to produce in the postseason. He was brought here to score goals when others can’t, and do it while playing a bit further down the lineup than he’s been used to.

It’s a small sample size, but so far Dadonov’s production has been minute and linemate reliant. When he’s played for longer stretches with better players, he’s scoring in bunches. When he’s been relegated to the third line with spare parts, he goes quiet. This isn’t horribly surprising and is almost expected for any player, but Dadonov was specifically acquired to be immune to this issue.

The Golden Knights have plenty of time to figure out if this is a momentary thing or if this is what they should expect to get out of their 32-year-old offensive reinforcement. If he needs the minutes to score, or has to play with elite playmakers to put up points in the postseason, they better find someone else to produce down the lineup, otherwise, he’s end up being a main contributor to the scoring droughts he was brought in to fix.

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19 Comments

  1. Henderson One

    Ken, I would be interested in what you project as the VGK roster when Patches, Karlsson and Eichel return later in the season. What moves will have to be made to get under the CAP?

  2. Tim

    Ken I always like to look at the glass half full and in Dadonov case I think there are better days ahead. It takes a while to adjust to a new team, teammates, city, etc. When everyone comes back a third line of Dadonov, Stephenson, and Roy should be good. With the Misfit line and the Eichel, Patch, Stone line we should be ok. Our problem is winning enough to make the playoff and the lines were putting out tonight doesn’t strike fear in any opponent.

  3. Blitz

    As soon as Dadonov was put with Stone/Stevie I thought he became one of the more noticeable guys on the ice, not just offensively, but other areas of the ice as well. Its hard to tell where he goes after Patches comes back and of course Eichel. With the injury rate maybe it doesn’t really matter.

    Just messin around here: Cap issues not considered I would say if the team can come together at the end of the year I would split Stone and Eichel up. If Stone/Stevie/Dadonov continue to gel leave them together and put Eichel/Patches/??? together. The ??? mark may be the key here, but what i am driving at is two sick lines.

    We look at the C role as the distributor, but to me Stone is so good about finding people with the puck and he seems more the center piece to the current/past L1. Leave it there. Stone is a slow skater and Stephenson’s speed really compliments that. I like the two together. Put a shooter with them Patches/Dad and things work. With Eichel/Stone together things get ridiculous in a good way. Add Patches and we go to ludicrous speed (keep firing assholes). Sure that is great, but separate them and make two awesome lines. Add the misfit line to the mix and get on the rocket ship to the finals.

    In the real world you add the cap issues into play and we become top heavy with one great line, one good line, and 2 shit lines.

    • Pistol Pete

      It seems nearly certain they will have move Smith or Dadonov to get under the cap along with another $4-5m guy probably a D. We’ll see what they come up with—someone suggested they could trade for an LTIR contract for example. I assume Smith is the most likely as he is due to be a free agent. Although Dadonov is two years older than Smith he’s a little bit better scorer especially goals.

      Pacioretty/ Eichel/Stone
      Dadanov/Karlsson/Marchessault
      Janmark/Stephenson/Patrick
      Carrier/Roy/Howden

      There are more variables and question marks in the bottom six. Besides injuries, Howden for example is a C and left shot. Some may get moved in the cap trades. Hard to say what the final versions will be but the above is not a weak bottom six assuming there is chemistry and good health.

      • Pistol Pete

        Patrick is a C too.

        • THE hockey GOD

          brooks was a captain too, in minor leagues (of Pats), so was howden. Team is full of ex captions , lost Brown on waivers who was a caption of Checkers.

      • Blitz

        I definitely understand that Smith is probably out. Most likely at the trade deadline or UFA if not. Letting Smith go is awful and may not be avoidable, but the dude is the absolute center/heart/soul of this team, and I am not talking sentimentally. He is the guy I don’t see being replaced with Dadonov or the younglings. He does way too much.

        To me the guy who has to go in this cap adjustment isn’t Smith, unless he wants to go, or unless you can’t work a similar or even better deal with him. I think Theo is the guy who has to go and I think Theo should want to go. Theo has been a dud in PDB system. He was a star in Turk’s system. The kid is skilled and I am a huge Theo fan, but he is more replaceable right now than Smith is IMO. His trajectory is very flat at this point. When it looked like / before.

        It’s gonna suck any way you look at it. Someone that makes money has to go.

    • Bob

      Line 1. Eichel….Stone…..Dandy
      2. Karlsson….Marshie….Patches
      3. Roy……Cotter….Stevenson
      4. Carrier…Kolesar….Patrick or ????

      Three speed lines with scoring ability….fourth line a pressure defensive
      line with speed.

      As much as I hate to lose Smith he will probably be traded due to cap needs and unrestricted.

  4. Pistol Pete

    I’m expecting another tough game tonight vs. DET. Any team can beat any team in this league and it’s just so much harder to be this short on the roster.

    • THE hockey GOD

      larkin back after pulled in last game due to covid right in middle of game which is BS because it’s obviously a false negative test, stahl now out due to covid,

      Covid tests are playing havoc with the NHL, it is a JOKE ! In ? Out? Fake ? positive? What is it ?

      Wings better at home than on road, just got shut out by Stars.

      hard to say, depending on big unknowns, is Boris in or out ?( funny when they played Ottawa the Canadians announcers kept calling him by his old name ), is 27 in or out ? Is 23 in or out ? A lot of game time decisions and we have media black out on top of it. The waiver claim of Brooks says that one or more of these players are not available. #43 didn’t do much of anything in last game, being from the area he probably will play against his old home town team.

      Would not be surprised if each team starts their back up goalies. And if VGK use their gold domes I am going to puke, LA Kings donned their vegas knock off “silver” domes’ in their game last night. They looked slick, at least they matched their silver and white home uniforms. Unlike the gold domes which , did I say, matches color of vomit yellow ? (yuck ! That is sound of someone retching in background)

      • Blitz

        23 got put on IR. I believe that makes him unavailable tonight. I think that means out at least 7 days.

    • Blitz

      Tonight, ugh, tonight. Well they just called up Miromanov and Ben Jones. I guess the new guy isn’t available yet, so I assume that is why Jones. Shea must be out, that is why Miro I assume. Well the wings beat us good last time and i would argue we had a better roster then. It looks bleak, but like I said last time. Time to open a beer, turn the game on, and root on the Knights. A victory will be that much sweeter.

      I hope they put a HSK guy on the PP and with L2 tonight. Losing with this team is one thing. Losing with Kolesar in key offensive spots is disgraceful. I would like to see Sven Baertschi play tonight. I mean why not.

    • Daryl

      I think VGK has a very good chance to win tonight… I just don’t think DET is that good

  5. Daryl

    The real question will take place when the rest of the starters return. How does he do when he isn’t paired with a top liner.

  6. Rex

    Whitecloud is back tonight

  7. How can any player be immune to the quality of his line-mates? If they are not in a position to receive a pass, you cannot pass the puck to them. If they are not in a position to make a pass, you cannot receive a pass from them. How can any player be immune to the amount of ice time he is allowed? These are impossible expectations.

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