After three years across the Atlantic, 23-year-old forward Evgeny Dadonov (pictured sporting Traktor colors in the first KHL season) is close to confirming his return to the KHL – but his departure from a frustrating stint at Carolina Hurricanes has sparked a bidding war for his services.
Traktor Chelyabinsk, where Dadonov learned his craft, have first refusal, but the Ural club’s offer has been bettered by KHL newcomers Donbass Donetsk. Traktor has a week to match that deal, or face losing out on another player who emerged through the ranks.
In Chelyabinsk, head coach Valery Belousov has told Sovietsky Sport that he will not respond to questions about Dadonov until after his holiday. But in Ukraine, there is great enthusiasm about the player’s prospects with Donbass.
“Evgeny is a player with great potential, he’s quick and his stick-handling is good,” Donbass vice-president Sergei Shakur told Sovietsky Sport. “Plus he’s had a whiff of the gunpowder on the front lines in the NHL and has played for Team Russia in Eurotour games. We see him as a leader for our team.”
Dadonov went to the US in 2009, initially signing for Florida Panthers where he played 55 games and managed 20 points in two-and-a-half years. But in January, with his contract running down, he was traded to Carolina where he was unable to break into the team, and according to agent Sergei Paremuzov he is now keen to return to the KHL in search of more game time.
While young Dadonov waits to hear if Traktor will make a renewed bid, speculation is growing about veteran Czech star Petr Nedved, linked with Avangard Omsk.
The 40-year-old, who has more than 1,000 NHL appearances under his belt, posted 74 points for Liberec in last season’s Czech Ekstraliga and is keen to take his chance of another season at a higher level in the KHL.
However, the player’s agent, Vladimir Vujtek Jr, has made it clear that Nedved won’t appear in the colors of newly-admitted Czech team Lev Prague, seeking a role with a club that has serious title aspirations.
Avangard, last season’s runner-up, would fit that bill, and the Siberian side – which once boasted another Czech legend, Jaromir Jagr, on the roster – is believed to be one of several KHL outfits to express an interest in Nedved.