Feb 3, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie (4) skates against the Dallas Stars during the third period at the American Airlines Center. Barrie scores the game tying goal. The Avalanche defeat the Stars 3-2 in the overtime shootout. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The Colorado Avalanche acquired two new defensemen during the off-season. Francois Beauchemin was one of them. Nikita Zadorov was the other.
Nikita Zadorov is the lesser-known of the two, not least of which is because he’s so young (just 20 years old.) He also has a limited resume, having played just 67 games, and all of them with the notoriously bad Buffalo Sabres.
Nonetheless, Avalanche executives acquired him as part of the Ryan O’Reilly trade, which alone suggests a certain level of confidence. Likewise, Colorado GM Joe Sakic remarked that they intended for Zadorov to be part of the team’s blue line “for the next 10 years.”
Nikita Zadorov, by the way, is the biggest blue liner at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, and is second only to enforcer Patrick Bordeleau on the whole team for size.
On the other end of the spectrum size-wise we have Tyson Barrie, the smallest defenseman and second only to Joey Hishon for most diminutive on the team. Barrie is Zadorov’s proposed d-partner.
Besides the obvious size differential, there are a lot of differences between the two players. Whether these differences clash or complement remains to be seen. Let’s look a little closer at this polemic defensive pairing.