Report: At least 10 Teams With Interest In Nikita Zadorov; 1 Notable Frontrunner

It became official on Friday: The Vancouver Canucks will not be re-signing defenseman Nikita Zadorov. GM Patrik Allvin made the statement after the hulking d-man turned down the Canucks last offer. "Nikita Zadorov was extremely good for us in the playoffs and a character guy. We did our best and he decided he wanted to go somewhere else," said Allvin.

So it's now open season on the 6-foot-6 blueliner, and plenty of teams will be battling to bring him in, according to the latest from TSN insider Darren Dreger. 

I'm told that there are more than 10 teams with considerable interest in Zadorov. 

And one team that is at the top of the list of Zadorov suitors, is the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"They like him for a lot of different reasons," says Dreger. "And know this: Like most general managers, (Leafs GM) Brad Treliving loves the big trees in the back. Zadorov has a bit of bite, and he certainly has the reach and the size and covers a lot of real estate."

The Leafs' defense has been missing a lot of those qualities in recent years, and although they brought in some size in Ilya Lyubushkin and Joel Edmondson at the trade deadline, both are unrestricted free agents, and Zadorov represents a step up—both in size and effectiveness—from both of them. 

Treliving is also the GM who signed Zadorov—twice—for the Calgary Flames. 

Big Z will be a wanted man come Monday.

Photo: © Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports