The Blackhawks have traded defenseman Nikita Zadorov's signing rights to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a third-round draft pick in 2022 (Toronto's selection), the team announced Wednesday. The move came one hour before free agency opened up.
Zadorov, 26, registered eight points (one goal, seven assists) in 55 games this season with the Blackhawks. He ranked third among team defensemen in average time on ice (19:12), although his role diminished down the stretch in favor of younger defensemen like Wyatt Kalynuk and Riley Stillman.
Zadorov is a pending restricted free agent who was given a qualifying offer by Chicago on Monday. The Flames do not have an extension in place and will work with the Russian blueliner to iron out a deal.
With the emergence of Kalynuk, the acquisitions of Caleb Jones and Seth Jones, and the expected signing of shutdown defenseman Jake McCabe when free agency opens up, it became more and more clear that Zadorov would likely be on the move this offseason.
Zadorov was acquired by the Blackhawks in October of 2020 from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for forward Brandon Saad and defenseman Dennis Gilbert. The Blackhawks also received defenseman Anton Lindholm.