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Nikita Zadorov Thrilled To ‘Complement’ Game Of Bruins Star


Nikita Zadorov Thrilled To ‘Complement’ Game Of Bruins Star

It could be an ideal defensive pairing for Boston

The Boston Bruins added exactly what they wanted to their defensive unit in the form of Nikita Zadorov.

The hulking 29-year-old defenseman, who resembles Zdeno Chara since he stands at 6-foot-6 and 248 pounds, brings snarl and skill the Bruins need on the blue line.

Zadorov also looks like an ideal fit to play alongside Charlie McAvoy on Boston’s top defensive pairing.

That certainly sounds good to Zadorov, who admired McAvoy from afar before signing a six-year, $30 million deal Monday to join the Bruins.

“With Charlie, I’ve been watching him a lot,” Zadorov told reporters, per team-provided video. “He’s one of my favorite D-man in the league, for sure. The way he plays, he’s got some grit. When he hits open-ice hits, I think that will fit well with me. He played unbelievably in the Toronto series. It was definitely fun to watch.

“I got to go up there and just complement him, help him to be good. Maybe he can create something a little bit more offensively as well because he can trust in me to be behind him, help him and be aggressive. I like his aggressiveness as well. I think it’s important in this league so you can kill plays quickly and then don’t let the team much time in the D-zone, neutral zone, close things quick. I think that’s important, for sure. We’ll see. When camp goes on, we’re probably gain more chemistry together and that’s pretty important.”

Pairing Zadorov and McAvoy together could help the Bruins star play freer and open up his game as he enters his eighth NHL season. While McAvoy has had success, he has yet to consistently take over games like many expected when Boston drafted him 14th overall in 2016.

After finishing in the top five in Norris voting for two straight seasons, McAvoy took a slight step back last season when he tallied a career-high 12 goals with 35 assists for 47 points — his lowest total since the 2020-21 campaign.

Perhaps a bruising defenseman like Zadorov who can take care of some of McAvoy’s responsibilities, especially in the defense end, will be the key to unlocking McAvoy. And it seems at least the Bruins will give the two a shot at playing together.

“(Zadorov’s) exits are good. He’s a transporter, finding middle ice which is something (coach Jim Montgomery) likes to do. So his first-pass ability I think complements,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney told reporters, per NESN. “Charlie gets a lot of focus on the forecheck and takes some physical hits as a result of that. I think (Zadorov) can maybe keep some of those flies off at times and also complement in a puck-moving standpoint. So the two guys can cover a lot of ice and play in matchup in any way on the road or not.”

About the Author

Greg Dudek

An award-winning journalist that has covered nearly everything under the sun for over a decade. Also, an anointed media day maven.

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