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NHL invalidates Golden Knights-Ducks Evgenii Dadonov trade


David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images

NHLI via Getty Images

The wildest story to come out of the 2022 NHL trade deadline has to be the Vegas Golden Knights attempt to dump Evgenii Dadonov’s contract on the Anaheim Ducks in attempt to clear salary cap space.

The Golden Knights were going to send Dadonov and a second-round pick to Anaheim in exchange for Ryan Kesler’s contract and defenseman John Moore.

On Wednesday, more than 48 hours after the deadline had passed, the NHL announced that trade has been invalidated due to a no-trade clause that was not honored.

Here is what happened: Just before the 3 p.m. ET Monday deadline, the trade was announced by the Golden Knights. The thought process here for Vegas is simple: Take on Kesler’s remaining contract, stash it on long-term injured reserve for the remainder of this season since he is not going to play again in the NHL, and clear some much-needed salary cap space for this season and next season. After acquiring Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres in November, combined with several other major acquisitions in recent seasons, the Golden Knights are pushed to the limits of the league’ salary cap and need to get creative to fit everybody in and remain cap compliant.

Then this happened.

The issue involves a no-trade clause in Dadonov’s contract that nobody from Vegas, to Anaheim, to the NHL itself seemed to know existed.

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When Dadonov signed with the Ottawa Senators as a free agent prior to the 2020-21 season, it included a 10-team no-trade clause that Anaheim was included on.

How this got missed remains unclear.

It was thought that perhaps Dadonov did not submit his 10-team list in time, but that is reportedly not the case. It is also believed that the Senators did not disclose the no-trade clause to Vegas during the trade call this past summer. Even if that were the case it means that Vegas and the NHL still missed that it was in place, which seems almost unbelievable.

In the end, this has major salary cap ramifications for the Golden Knights who are in a desperate fight to make the playoffs (and quickly running out of time to make up ground).

According to CapFriendly, the Golden Knights only have $405,833 of remaining space to work with in their LTIR pool and still need to activate Mark Stone ($9 million cap hit) and Alec Martinez ($4 million cap hit). This trade not going through is going to pretty much eliminate their chance of bring either player back for the regular season.

Vegas could theoretically still try to trade Dadonov to another team not on his no-trade list, but the Collective Bargaining Agreement would prohibit him from playing again this season since the trade deadline has passed.

Either way, this is an absolute mess and nightmare for Vegas and there does not seem to be an easy way out right now. It also seems that Dadonov is going to be the real loser in this if his season has to end through no fault of his own.