Canucks: Imposing Nikita Zadorov brings measurement, swagger, humour to bolster again finish

The Canucks’ new defenceman has a giant down-low presence, is a giant hitter, has offensive potential and a way of humour.

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The turtleneck is having a stylistic renaissance.

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The locker-room music might get some new stylings.

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These have been among the many comedic feedback from Nikita Zadorov following a brief however vital practise Sunday at Rogers Area. His swagger on the ice was matched by his wit off it.

Apart from the hype when the Vancouver Canucks acquired the behemoth blueliner Thursday from the Calgary Flames — his 6-foot-6, 248-pound body, punishing bodychecks and underrated offence with 14 objectives final season — including an 11-year NHL veteran who will get it may be a stabilizing pressure.

The Moscow native can be fashionable and was the room DJ in Calgary, and is a candidate to exchange the traded Anthony Beauvillier in that capability.

“So, is {that a} dangerous pattern?” Zadorov laughed, realizing Beauviller was dealt. “If I change into DJ, hopefully I don’t get traded.”

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And what about that turtleneck? Is it again?

“Come on, it’s been again for a few years,” chuckled Zadorov. “It’s cozy. It seems to be good. I wore it to the sport final evening (Saturday) and undoubtedly going to combine it in on occasion. No chain. I’m European. No chains in Europe.”

What shall be a part of the taking part in combine is the havoc he wreaks when lining up an opposing ahead — particularly within the impartial zone. Zadorov has 41 hits and 21 blocks this season. It’s one motive the Canucks parted with a 2024 fifth-round draft selection and 2026 third-round choose to land the pending unrestricted free agent.

Zadorov, 28, is usually a bodily deterrent down low, prop up a sagging penalty kill and separate a participant from the puck with devastating highlight-reel hits.

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“I like it when individuals hate to play in opposition to me,” mentioned Zadorov. “It’s one thing I’ve developed by way of my profession and it’s form of like taking part in with the fish. You open some house for the forwards they usually assume it’s open and also you simply shut it on the final second.

“I really feel 95 per cent of my hits are the identical fashion. On the left aspect when the ahead cuts into the center and now a whole lot of gamers know to not minimize center.”

Zadorov logged 17:35 Saturday in a 4-3 street win over the Flames. He was paired with Tyler Myers, logged 17:35, together with 3:19 short-handed, and blocked two pictures. He was out within the final two minutes to guard the lead and drew an help on Elias Pettersson’s empty-netter.

“It was good to get that one out of the way in which,” he mentioned. “Numerous feelings and I can now think about the homestand.”

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The transition right here shall be made simpler by having an extended relationship with fellow Russians in Andrei Kuzmenko and Ilya Mikheyev, and having labored with defensive coach Adam Foote in Colorado.

“I really feel like I might help Kuzy,” added Zadorov. “It’s simply his second 12 months within the league and it takes time to transition the on-and-off ice stuff and he got here later right here from the KHL. Whenever you come right here (North America) at 16, you study sooner than a 27-year-old.”

For Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet, seeing was believing in his first viewing of Zadorov.

“It seems to be good when you will have a giant man like that on the market,” he acknowledged. “Underneath the circumstances, he did a pleasant job for us. Fairly sensible man. He grasps the system stuff fairly good. And he’s acquired an ideal persona, which I like.

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“He’s acquired that swagger when issues go dangerous or good. Even-keeled and has that humour. You may’t be severe all time. That can add so much to us.”

So will being a bodily pressure down low, the corners and impartial zone.

“You don’t need to kill a man, however undergo individuals and when he does, it’s going to harm,” mentioned Tocchet. “Possibly the following time, he (opposition) places his brakes on. We want that form of angle round right here.”

The Canucks had low season curiosity in Zadorov, and by not making the Flames assume wage within the commerce, they beat different suitors and landed a very good match, who might have an extended future right here.

“This can be a nice alternative for each side. For us, to get to know Nikita higher and for him to get to know us,” Canucks common supervisor Patrik Allvin mentioned Sunday. “I hope we match collectively and this may very well be long run.

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When accidents struck, the Canucks knew they needed to be proactive to bolster the ranks.

“In our final pre-season recreation, (Gulliaume) Brisebois went down (concussion) and we have been a bit of bit skinny on the again finish,” added Allvin. “And when Carson Soucy (foot) acquired injured, we wanted to handle it and Nikita’s title was on the market.”

And so is Ethan Bear. He suffered a shoulder harm on the world hockey championship and required surgical procedure in mid-June. Restoration was anticipated to take six months. The Canucks didn’t tender a qualifying provide and Bear grew to become an unrestricted free agent. He could also be able to play this month.

“Plenty of respect for Ethan,” mentioned Allvin. “I’ve stayed involved together with his agent. He is aware of what we’re and the way we play. That’s on factor that would profit him. We’ll proceed to speak.”

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NEXT GAME

Canucks vs. Devils

Tuesday, 7 p.m., Rogers Area
TV: Sportsnet, Radio: Sportsnet 650

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