Dadonov mystery deepens as Canadiens place forward on injured reserve

Veteran goes from being a healthy scratch, to having “therapy days” to having a “virus” before being placed on injured reserve Thursday.

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WINNIPEG — The Canadiens’ Evgenii Dadonov has mysteriously gone from being a healthy scratch, to taking “therapy days” to having a “virus” to being placed on the injured-reserve list after looking fine when he took part in the team’s morning skate Thursday at the Canada Life Centre.

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Dadonov won’t be in the lineup Thursday and neither will fellow forwards Mike Hoffman and Michael Pezzetta when the Canadiens play the Jets (8 p.m., TSN2, TSN3, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM).

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Defenceman Joel Edmundson, who has been sidelined since the start of the season with a back injury, took part in the morning skate, looked good and will be a game-time decision. If Edmundson plays, Chris Wideman will sit out.

Adding Edmundson to the 23-man roster means someone else has to go and putting Dadonov on injured reserve takes care of that.

Dadonov was made a healthy scratch for last Saturday’s 7-4 win over the Blues in St. Louis and after the game he was spotted talking with Canadiens GM Kent Hughes in the hallway outside the locker room.

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The Canadiens had an off-day Sunday and when they practised Monday in St. Louis Dadonov wasn’t on the ice, with the team saying it was a “therapy day” for him. Dadonov didn’t take part in Tuesday’s optional morning skate in Minnesota, which had 16 players on the ice, with the team again saying it was a “therapy day” for him. Dadonov wasn’t in the lineup against the Wild.

During the second intermission of the game in Minnesota, Hughes told Marc-André Perreault of TVA Sports that Dadonov had a “virus,” but after the game Dadonov was seen outside the locker room talking with fellow Russian Kirill Kaprizov.

Dadonov took part in an optional practice Wednesday in Winnipeg and also took part in Thursday’s morning skate. But after the morning skate, the Canadiens announced Dadonov was being placed on the injured-reserve list. The Canadiens added more details in the afternoon, saying Edmundson was on the injured-reserve list with an “illness” retroactive to Monday and that Edmundson had been added to the 23-man roster in his place.

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The Canadiens acquired Dadonov from the Vegas Golden Knights this summer in exchange for Shea Weber, whose career is over because of injuries and the last four years of his contract (with a US$7.857-million salary-cap hit) won’t count against the team cap while he remains on long-term injured reserve. Weber is only earning US$6 million total over the final four years of the front-loaded, 14-year, US$110-million contract the Nashville Predators signed him to after matching an offer sheet from the Philadelphia Flyers.

Dadonov, 33, is in the final season of a three-year, US$15-million contract with a US$5 million salary-cap hit, but he’s actually earning US$6.5 million this season.

In eight games with the Canadiens this season, Dadonov has no points and a minus-3 differential.

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At last season’s NHL trade deadline, the Golden Knights tried to deal Dadonov and a second-round draft pick to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Ryan Kesler’s contract and defenceman John Moore.

But more than 48 hours after the deadline had passed, the NHL announced the trade had been invalidated because a no-trade clause in Dadonov’s contract was not honoured. When Dadonov signed his current three-year deal with the Ottawa Senators as a free agent before the start of the 2020-21 season, the contract had a 10-team no-trade clause that included Anaheim. Somehow the Golden Knights and Ducks weren’t aware of that when the deal was first made.

Now there’s another bizarre chapter to add to Dadonov’s story.

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