The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has signed defenseman Nikita Zadorov to a one-year contract for the upcoming 2019-20 season.
Zadorov, 24, led the Avalanche in hits for the third straight season with 228 during the 2018-19 campaign, becoming the first Colorado player to lead the team in hits for three consecutive years. He finished second on the Avs with a career-best +19 plus/minus rating and was the only NHL player to compile over 225 hits with a plus/minus rating of +19 or better. The Moscow, Russia, native tied for second among Avalanche defensemen with seven goals, matching his career high, and added seven assists to finish with 14 points.
Zadorov went on to rank first on the team with 59 hits during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, a total that led all NHL players through the second round. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound defenseman set a playoff career high with 11 hits on April 30 vs. San Jose, tied for the third-most in a single game in Avalanche postseason history.
"Z brings a tough, physical presence to our blue line," said Avalanche Executive Vice President/General Manager Joe Sakic. "He is an important part of our back end and we are excited to have him under contract for next season."
Zadorov set career highs in points (20), goals (7), assists (13) and games played (77) during the 2017-18 season. He led the NHL and set an Avalanche record with 278 hits that year, becoming the first Colorado player to lead the league in that category. Zadorov set a single-game Avalanche record with 15 hits on March 22, 2018 vs. Los Angeles, the third-most by an NHL player since the league began recording hits in 1998-99. He was the first NHL defenseman to score seven-plus goals with over 270 hits in a season since the league began tracking hits in 1998-99. Zadorov went on to finish second among Colorado defensemen in playoff scoring with three points (1g/2a) in six games.
Selected by Buffalo in the first round (16th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Zadorov was acquired by Colorado on June 26, 2015. He has skated in 292 career NHL games with the Sabres and Avalanche, notching 62 points (18g/44a).
Zadorov won a bronze medal with his country at the 2019 IIHF World Championship and also earned a bronze medal with Russia at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Sweden. He led all Russian defensemen with four goals and five points during that tournament. In 2012-13, Zadorov helped the London Knights win the Ontario Hockey League championship and advance to the Memorial Cup, earning a spot on the OHL All-Rookie Team. The following season, Zadorov was named to the 2013-14 OHL Second All-Star Team with London.