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Leafs reportedly looking to pursue KHL free agents Dadonov, Shipachev

It’s probably safe to assume that, with additions like Nikita Zaitsev and, much more recently, Miro Aaltonen, going to the well that is the KHL for free agents is something the Leafs feel quite comfortable in doing. With that in mind, we should obviously expect them to continue to do so. According to reports from Sportsnet, they’ll do just that this offseason.

“They’re in on everyone” is one way Chris Johnston described the Leafs’ current pursuit of overseas free agents, but more specifically they appear to be a frontrunner in acquiring two big scorers from the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg – winger Yevgeni Dadonov and center Vadim Shipachev .

Both of these guys are established KHL veterans. Shipachev recently turned 30-years-old and has spent an entire decade in the league, while Dadonov – a former Panthers third-round pick – just turned 28. [They actually have the same March 12th birthday.]

Scoring-wise, both players eclipsed a point-per-game pace for SKA this past season, with Shipachev notching 76 points in 50 games, while Dadonov piled in 66 in 53.

GP Goals Assists Points
Yevgeni Dadonov (SKA St. Petersburg) 53 30 36 66
Vadim Shipachev (SKA St. Petersburg) 50 26 50 76

Toronto reportedly isn’t the only team looking to target these two players, or a variety of others. There seems to be plenty of activity around the NHL when it comes to pursuing free agents like this – no doubt somewhat a byproduct of the success Panarin in Chicago, and to a lesser extent, the Leafs’ own Zaitsev.

Johnston hinted at the new Vegas franchise being a club that will make a push to sign these two particularly, which makes a lot of sense. That could be a team that promises a lot more in terms of prominent roles for these players, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them go there. Still, this is a very interesting story to keep an eye on given the potential for such a massive changeover in the Leafs’ roster this upcoming summer. Sounds like they’re going to overturn a lot of stones in doing so.

    • I think you have to give credit to a guy like Ari Vuori (European Scouting Director) as well as scouts like Thommie Bergman, Nikolai Ladygin, Radim Jelinek, Evgeny Namestnikov, and Robert Nordmark (there’s a bit of a mixed list of who are actually scouts). We used to be a big target for Swedes and Finns but we’ve really made strides in Russia and I assume these guys are to thank.

      https://www.nhl.com/mapleleafs/team/management
      https://mapleleafshotstove.com/toronto-maple-leafs-scouting-staff/

    • I think you have to give credit to a guy like Ari Vuori (European Scouting Director) as well as scouts like Thommie Bergman, Nikolai Ladygin, Radim Jelinek, Evgeny Namestnikov, and Robert Nordmark (there’s a bit of a mixed list of who are actually scouts). We used to be a big target for Swedes and Finns but we’ve really made strides in Russia and I assume these guys are to thank.

    • Gary Empey

      I give Shanahan credit for going out of his way and talking Mark Hunter into taking the top scouting position. Mark was very content as President, coach and part owner with his brother Dale of the London Knights. London a lovely city, is very near his hometown of Petrolia, ONT. He had paid his dues of traveling and the rat-race of living in big cities with 14 years in the NHL. Everyone knows how difficult it is to predict how 17 and 18 year old players will develop at 21. Mark is the likely reason for so much optimism regarding the future of the Leafs and Marlies. When looking at Mark’s picks there doesn’t seem to be anyone yet that you can write off as not having some NHL potential.

  • FlareKnight

    It’s smart. Looking at guys who are already professionals and just need to make the jump to the NHL. You need talent from all sources. Of course keep drafting guys and developing. But if you can also pick up guys from different places who are further along and playing in good leagues then you do that.

    I’ll just nod and trust since I’m definitely not a KHL expert.

  • Gary Empey

    Re- “the potential for such a massive changeover in the Leafs’ roster this upcoming summer.”…. I am not sure where you got that from. If the Leafs can find a free agent defenceman to sign it would make more sense to me. We already are having trouble getting Josh Leivo into the lineup. Kasperi Kapanen, Kerby Rychel, and Brendan Leipsic all look to play a prominent role in the NHL. Who would you be taking out of the lineup to dress these two guys?
    Evgeny Dadonov
    Right Wing — shoots L
    Born Mar 12 1989 — [28 yrs. ago]
    Height 5.10 — Weight 178

    Vadim Shipachev
    Forward/Leftwing
    Born Mar 12 1987 –[30 yrs. ago]
    Height 6.00 — Weight 187

  • lukewarmwater

    I welcomed comrade Zaitsev with open arms. So adding two more talented comrades to the squad sounds like a positive move to me. It possibly could help leaping Lou make a deal for more depth on the blue line.

  • BigRigM

    I say we take a run at Shipachev. He would be on an ELC where Dadonov wouldn’t so he’ll be cheap and might be a great solution to a need. Looking ahead, other than the obvious D needs, we are going to need a top line LW to replace JVR. I think, realistically, JVR is going to be used to address D as there isn’t going to be much $$ available to re-up him. Hyman is better slotted as a 3/4 energy LW, Leipsic may pan out as a top 2 LW. Uncle Leo is likely gone next season while his value is high unless we luck out and Matt Martin gets taken by Vegas. Also Bozak is probably out too while he is valuable. We are fine/stacked on the right side with Leivo and Kap ready to go so Nylander could make a shift to the middle. Shipachev make financial and flexibility sense.

    • BarelyComments

      Shipachev is 30 so he wouldn’t be on an ELC and he is reportedly looking for 5.5mil… I’d still be interested in getting him on a 1-year deal though as a bozak replacement. By all accounts he is supper talented and could provide the same boost as a Radulov in Montreal.