Blackhawks’ Nikita Zadorov saga ends with trade to Flames

The Hawks received a third-round pick for the imposing defenseman, shortly before free agency began.

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Nikita Zadorov was traded to the Flames on Wednesday.

Carlos Osorio, AP Photos

Nikita Zadorov’s brief but eventful one-year run with the Blackhawks ended Wednesday, shortly before free agency opened.

Hawks general manager Stan Bowman dealt the imposing but mistake-prone defenseman to the Flames for a 2022 third-round pick.

The trade recouped more value for Zadorov than if he’d been taken in expansion draft, but far less value than the Brandon Saad package used to acquire Zadorov last fall. (To be fair, Saad also left the Avalanche on Wednesday, becoming a free agent.)

The Flames will inherit Zadorov’s $3.2 million qualifying offer, which kept him a restricted free agent, and negotiate a new contract with him in the coming days.

Zadorov’s final Hawks stat line — one goal, seven assists and 190 hits in 55 games — won’t make any hockey history books, but it was certainly eventful. Heralded at the start of the year as the immovable defensive defenseman the Hawks had long needed, shopped heavily in April ahead of the trade deadline and last week ahead of the draft, Zadorov’s name was constantly in the news.

The third-round selection was the Maple Leafs’ pick originally and gives the Hawks now three 2022 third-round picks: the Leafs’, Golden Knights’ and Oilers’, but not their own.

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