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NHL Notebook: Nikita Zadorov makes debut with Canucks against Flames, Devils call up prospect Simon Nemec in light of Dougie Hamilton injury, and more

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Aleena Aksenchuk
2 months ago
Defenceman Nikita Zadorov made his first appearance in a Vancouver Canucks jersey on Saturday, ironically against his former team, the Calgary Flames.
Back in November, Zadorov told media that he loves being a member of the Calgary Flames, noting, “I would love to be a Calgary Flame for my whole life.”
Things changed less than a day later when Zadorov publicly requested a trade from the organization, through his agent, after a 5-4 shoot-out loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 2022, the defenceman signed a two-year contract with the Flames carrying a cap hit of $3,750,000 and is set to become an unrestricted free agent this coming summer, but had been expecting a contract extension with the team.
After 21 games with the Flames that saw Zadorov collect one goal and six points, the organization filled his request and traded him to the Canucks on November 30th for a fifth-round pick in 2024 and a third-round pick in 2026.
In anticipation of facing off against his former club, the defenceman was asked if he wished his request to be traded had been done so privately. Still, there were no regrets in his decision.
“No,” Zadorov said. “I’m happy where I’m at right now.”
As anticipated, the Flames fanbase expressed mixed reactions during the video tribute to Zadorov as he donned the opposing team’s jersey. However, it wouldn’t be enough for the 28-year-old to hold any grudges against the Flames fans.
“I’m grateful to have had a chance in this beautiful city for these beautiful fans,” Zadorov told Sportsnets Scott Oake. “I just want to say thank you. Hopefully, not too many [Flames fans] pissed at me; I heard a couple boos today, but I still love the Calgary Flames.”
As for his former teammates, Zadorov told media ahead of puck drop that although they may not be friends on the ice, they’ll be his friends for the rest of his life. “My teammates were the best part. Hopefully they will not hit me too hard today.”
Zadorov contributed one assist throughout the Canucks 4-3 victory over the Flames on Saturday while logging 17:35 of ice time.
Vancouver marks the fifth team the defenceman has played for since being drafted in 2013 as the Buffalo Sabres 16th overall selection. His longest tenure came in 2015 to 2020 with the Colorado Avalanche, where he collected 18 goals and 59 points across 289 games.

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Devils call up prospect Simon Nemec in light of Dougie Hamilton injury

The New Jersey Devils announced on Friday that prospect Simon Nemec would be called up to replace Dougie Hamilton, who has been placed on the long-term injured reserve due to a torn left pectoral muscle.
The club confirmed on Friday that Hamilton is set to undergo surgery for the injury and will be slotted on the LTIR retroactively to November 28th.
The three-year Devils veteran has played a significant role on the teams’ blueline that includes a prominent role on the second power-play unit. Before the injury, the defenceman recorded five goals and 16 points, eight of those points collected on the power play.
As a result, Nemec, the prospect from Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia, will trade in his American Hockey League threads with the Utica Comets for Devils colours.
Selected as the Devils’ second overall pick in the 2022 NHL draft, the 19-year-old defenceman showcased his talents with the Comets in the 2022-23 season, where he recorded 12 goals and 34 points, along with an additional goal and four points in six playoff games. In the current campaign, Nemec has scored two goals and eight points in thirteen games with the Comets.
Making his debut on Saturday evening with the Devils, Nemec, despite a few minor errors, demonstrated composure on the ice. He notched two assists and contributed 22:38 of ice time in the team’s 6-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks. According to Devils Public Relations, this achievement places him in Devils history as the third teenage defenceman to record a point in their NHL debut and the second-highest ice time recorded by a player in their NHL debut with the franchise.
“I felt good on the ice,” Nemec said. “It was crazy. It felt like a normal day. Maybe I’ll feel different tomorrow or the next day. I felt good on the ice and tried to enjoy this moment.”
Given the severity of Hamilton’s injury, it appears that Nemec’s appearance with the Devils will not be a one-time occurrence and may mark the beginning of an extended opportunity for the young defenceman.

Blackhawks Connor Bedard named rookie of the month

The league announced on Friday that Chicago Blackhawks forward Connor Bedard. has been named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for November.
Bedard has made his mark in the NHL throughout the first 22 games of his inaugural season. In November alone, the 18-year-old collected six goals and 12 points throughout 12 games for a total of 11 goals and 19 points for the Blackhawks this season.
On November 9th, the forward recorded his first multi-goal and multi-point performance with two goals and two assists in a 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Notably, he also scored his first game-winning goal the same night.
Additionally, he surpassed expectations and reached milestones, including becoming one of the youngest players to reach 10 career goals, which he acquired in just 17 games. Furthermore, he became the youngest player to earn a three-game goal streak since former Blackhawks forward Jeremy Roenick.

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