Bruins defenseman Nikita Zadorov takes a subtle shot defending Elias Lindholm in Vancouver

New Boston Bruins defenseman Nikita Zadorov took a subtle shot at the Vancouver Canucks defending Elias Lindholm Monday.
Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks - Game Seven
Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks - Game Seven / Derek Cain/GettyImages

One thing was clear going into free agency last Monday, Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney clearly knew who he wanted and got them. Needing a top center, he signed one of the big free agents available when he inked Elias Lindholm to a seven-year contract that carries a $7.75 million AVV. Needing some toughness on defense, Sweeney also signed Lindholm's long-time teammate Nikita Zadorov.

Both of those signings filled a pair of needs the Black and Gold had and all signs point to Lindholm being the top center that coach Jim Montgomery lacked last season following the retirements of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci last summer. Charlie Coyle was good, but he's a No. 2 at best center and better as the third pivot.

Zadorov met the media Monday in Boston and spoke on several topics, including about Lindholm, his teammate in Calgary with the Flames and Vancouver with the Canucks. Zadorov you could say, took a shot at their former team.

Nikita Zadorov takes a subtle shot at the Vancouver Canucks over Elias Lindholm

Going into the trade deadline, Lindholm was one of the most sought-after centers on the market, but the Flames moved him to the Canucks in early February. In 49 games for Calgary last season, he had nine goals and 23 assists, but his production dipped in Vancouver with six goals and 12 points in 26 regualr season games. He played better in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with five goals and 10 points in 13 games. Why was there a drop-off going from Calgary to Vancouver? Zadorov might have the answer.

"It’s a new opportunity for him. He got traded to Vancouver, he kind of didn’t play the role he fits, I feel like. So in here, I feel like he can come back to his version when he was in Calgary with top line, top penalty kill and everything"

Nikita Zadorov

Well, if you see a drop-off in production, it could be for several reasons, including not playing the role someone fits. That is a subtle shot at Vancouver coach Rick Tocchet. In Boston, Lindholm will assume several roles for the Black and Gold at the top of the lineup and be slotted next to David Pastrnak. That should help him settle in easier in Boston and playing in all situations is exactly what Montgomery and the Bruins need.

Lindholm wanted to test free agency as he didn't sign an extension with the Canucks and maybe you see why. In Boston, he'll be welcomed with open arms and allowed to play the role that fits him and it could be a big upgrade for the Bruins if he returns to his version the Flames got.