Colorado Avalanche Need to Sign Nikita Zadorov, Yesterday

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 12: Nikita Zadorov
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 12: Nikita Zadorov /

The Colorado Avalanche have still yet to announce a new contract for Nikita Zadorov, and now it’s crunch time.

According to reports, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov has a “mutual agreement” with CSKA Moscow from the KHL — the same team Mikhail Grigorenko just signed with — to join the team if he doesn’t receive a better offer from the Avalanche by the end of July.

Apparently the current sticking point between the Avs and Zadorov is the term of the contract. If I’m a betting man, I would bet the Avalanche are trying to lock him up long-term at a price he’s not comfortable with long-term. So, it really has nothing to do with term.

Now, I could obviously be wrong, but I don’t understand how term would come into play. My bet is that he’s just saying it’s term for the sake of appearances. Money is money, and it always dictates the term of the contract at this stage in a player’s career.

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He’s either not getting enough money at the length of term the Avs are asking for. Or, he’s not getting enough money to stay here short term. In other words, he’s too young for term to be the sticking point. He’s not signing the last contract of his career, and doesn’t have to uproot his family in order to sign the contract. Term is a copout.

Sorry Zadorov, but I’m calling your bluff. You want to play in the NHL, and the Avs are giving you a chance. If you were really going to leave, you would have left already. You’re just using the KHL as a bargaining chip. How much more money can you make there?

With that being said, I have something to say to you too Joe Sakic. GET THE MAN SIGNED!

Sign Zadorov No Matter the Cost

That may seem like a ridiculous thing to do, but the Avs simply cannot afford to lose Nikita Zadorov. They already lost Mikhail Grigorenko, albeit by their own volition.

Related Story: Avs Not Qualifying Mikhail Grigorenko is Tomfoolery

If they let Nikita Zadorov go too, then we try to convince ourselves that we won the Ryan O’Reilly trade with J.T. Compher, A.J. Greer and Cam Morrison. All three players are still largely unproven sure, but Nikita Zadorov is, and always has been, the cornerstone of that trade.

I don’t care if Nikita Zadorov is bluffing, or even if Joe Sakic is trying to call his bluff, you don’t take that risk. You give the man the money he wants short-term and hope it pans out for another contract in two-three years. Or, you up the ante long-term and pay the man four million over six years. I am almost certain that the latter will be a steal in the long run, even if it is a gamble in the present.

Look, it’s almost a bona-fide certainty that the story released by Igor Eronko from Sport-Express is a ploy by Zadorov’s agent. They are playing with the fact that media has been covering Zadorov’s threat to go to the KHL — if he doesn’t receive the contract he wants from Colorado — since late April, and hoping it pans out.

They are pushing that meter even more now, and hoping it will work in their favor. Well, I’m telling Sakic to make sure their plan works.

If August comes and Big Z doesn’t have a contract, I am going to start a hockey movement, signposts and all, calling for Sakic’s resignation.


Nikita Zadorov hasn’t been the offensive dynamo people saw in his original potential, but he can more than handle his own in the defensive end. He’s a bruising force that strikes fear in the opponent. “Don’t take the puck into his corner”  they say to themselves as they skate into the zone.

That is precisely the type of player we need in Colorado. Somebody who won’t stand idly by while forwards do what they want with the puck in our own end.

Next: Matt Duchene Likely to Stay With the Avs

It’s quite honestly baffling to me that the Avalanche haven’t been able to get a deal done yet. They currently sit with just three NHL defensemen under contract for next season. Four, if you count David Warsofsky’s one-way contract for just this year, while the second year goes back to two-way.

So, the Avalanche are going to ice Erik Johnson, Tyson Barrie, Mark Barberio, Warsofsky, and then who? Andrei Mironov, Chris Bigras and Anton Lindholm should all challenge for spots but they aren’t NHL defensemen yet, if ever. Yeah, I don’t think so.

You know what to do Joe, just get the job done already.