The Vegas Golden Knights traded forward Evgenii Dadonov to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday in exchange for Shea Weber’s contract.
There was no salary retained in the deal.
Weber, 36, had captained the Canadians since 2018. He did not play last season because of multiple injuries and was moved to long-term injured reserve. It’s unlikely Weber will be able to play again in the future. The veteran still has four years remaining on his deal, with a $7.8 million per season cap hit. The actual money owed to Weber though is $3 million next season, and $1 million in each of the contract’s final three.
“First of all, I would like to thank Shea for all that he has done for and represented to the Montreal Canadiens,” Montreal general manager Kent Hughes said in a statement. “Not only was Shea an exceptional hockey player who played through significant injuries in an attempt to bring the Stanley Cup back to Montreal, he was also a great leader whose leadership will have a positive impact on our team well beyond his time with us. I also want to welcome Evgenii Dadonov to our organization. He is a talented forward who has produced at all levels since the start of his career.”
Dadonov, 33, has one year remaining on his contract at a $5 million cap hit. The forward is coming off a productive season with Vegas, tallying 43 points in 78 games, and will provide the Canadians with solid veteran depth up front.
The Golden Knights had previously tried moving Dadonov at the NHL’s trade deadline in March, orchestrating a deal with Anaheim that would have provided much-needed salary-cap space. The trade was ultimately called off though, due to the Ducks being on Dadonov’s 10-team no-trade list.
Acquiring Weber’s contract will give Vegas the cap flexibility it was looking for through long-term injured reserve relief. The Golden Knights were projected to enter next season right up against the $82.5 million cap, which increased by $1 million from 2021-22. That’s the first cap increase the NHL has implemented since 2019.