Monday, September 9, 2019

Evgenii Dadonov: Two Autographed Cards

(As per years past, this is a twin-post with my "regular" blog, where I predicted the Florida Panthers would finish third in the Atlantic Division in 2019-20).
The most complicated thing about Yevengy/Evgeny/Evgenii Dadonov is the correct spelling of his name; everything else is either straight to the point or so well-executed it looks effortless. One thing's for certain, he's not just a third wheel going forward on the strength of linemates Alexander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, he has earned his spot on the Panthers' top line with his steady play and elite-level zone entries.

He's a right winger who plays like a centre, looking for opportunities to give his linemates the puck but totally able to control it at will as well. And he has a heck of a shot from the slot, which explains his two straight 28-goal seasons since making it back on this side of the Atlantic. He's improved his point production, too, going from 65 to 70 points, and an 80-point 2019-20 is not out of the question if he can stay healthy, particularly if the team isn't stuck in its own zone for long periods of time in a system created by Joel Quenneville and backed by Sergei Bobrovsky.

Of course, it will take time for the team to gel, but once they get rolling around the Holidays, there won't be much to stop them.

I like that I was able to have him sign his rookie card last year, #509 from Panini's 2010-11 Score collection and Hot Rookies sub-set, showing him wearing the team's then-home black uniform:
The Cats would switch the red and black and remove the piping for the 2011-12 season, so this was one of its last instances.

He also signed a card with the Panthers' current away (white) uniform, #185 from Upper Deck's 2018-19 O-Pee-Chee set:
I don't hate it, it's possibly their best white uniform yet, but I still haven't fully gotten used to football-styled numbering on the shoulders.

I don't like the current home (red) uniform, though, that is basically this one with the red and white reversed. It's too "College Hockey", too "KHL" and too "Detroit Red Wings", it doesn't feel unique nor on brand.

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