The Colorado Avalanche bolstered their blue line after signing young hopeful Nikita Zadorov to a two-year contract through the 2018-19 season today.
The 22-year-old defenseman had no problem throwing his body around last season -- remember his hit on Winnipeg Jets' Mark Scheifele? -- proving an intimidating force before his season-ending injury in February after fracturing his ankle.
Zadorov appeared in 56 games last season for the Avalanche and lead the team with 153 hits, despite missing the last 25 games of the season. Not known for his offensive contributions with last year's team, the Moscow, Russia native had only 10 points (0g/10a) in his 56 games with Colorado last season.
"Zadorov is a big, young, physical defenseman who was starting to emerge as one of our top D before his injury last season," said Avalanche Executive Vice President/General Manager Joe Sakic. "He's an important part of our blue line and we expect him to log big minutes this year. We are excited to have him under contract."
After being selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the first round (16th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, he played in 7 games during his rookie season in 2013-14, then 60 his second season. Zadorov was acquired by the Avs on June 26, 2015 and has played in 145 contests during his NHL career.
Although Zadorov is just signing his contract now, many presumed he would be a part of Colorado's roster this year.