St. Louis Blues: Three Chicago Blackhawks Free Agents To Consider

St. Louis Blues(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
St. Louis Blues(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Nikita Zadorov (16)Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Nikita Zadorov (16)Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

Nikita Zadorov

Speaking of retooling, while I contend that St. Louis absolutely must address a lack of goals, there is a large contingent of fans wanting them to get bigger, stronger and nastier on the back end. Look no further than Nikita Zadorov for that.

Like Nylander, Zadorov is a restricted free agent even though he’s 26. You can thank a lack of games, lengthy entry level contract and several shorter bridge contracts afterward for that.

Nevertheless, if available, Zadorov would provide the Blues a lot of what they need on the back end. He checks in at 6’6 and 235 lbs, so the big Russian defender is not going to get pushed around.

While it would be extremely unlikely they play together, just imagine a twin-tower blue line of Zadorov and Colton Parayko. As long as they didn’t screen their own goalie, they’d take up so much room with height and reach that it wouldn’t be funny.

Zadorov doesn’t provide much scoring, with his career high being seven goals and 20 points. However, that’s not what you’re looking for if you bring him in.

He replaces some of the pure defense lost with Carl Gunnarsson‘s likely exit and also the defensive reach lost when Jay Bouwmeester was lost. Additionally, Zadorov will punish those that take him on.

Justin Faulk led the 2021 Blues in hits with 128. Only two other guys had over 100 hits and both were forwards.

Zadorov has not had fewer than 153 hits since 2015-16. That was because he only played 22 games.

He’s had over 200 hits twice in his career and almost surely would have eclipsed that number in 2020-21, had a full season been played.

He would not come overly cheap. His last contract paid him $3.2 million.

The only reason the Blackhawks might let him loose is due to their own cap concerns. With players coming off LTIR, Chicago might have no choice but to let the Russian test the waters.

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If so, St. Louis has to take a look at this guy. The Blues have enough defensive offensive firepower on their roster or coming through the system. If you can add a guy with nastiness and size to help guard your blue line, you’d be foolish to not kick the tires.