Detroit Red Wings: Against the Grain: A Look at Filip Zadina

BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 31: Filip Zadina #18 of Czech Republic during the IIHF World Junior Championship against Switzerland at KeyBank Center on December 31, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 31: Filip Zadina #18 of Czech Republic during the IIHF World Junior Championship against Switzerland at KeyBank Center on December 31, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images) /

 The Detroit Red Wings find themselves in an interesting predicament.  Often known for letting the young prospects grow into a “Red Wing” via Grand Rapids.  Filip Zadina may force Detroit to go against the grain.

The Detroit Red Wings find themselves with 13 forwards currently rostered.  That is not including any prospects clawing for an opportunity.  It will be very interesting to see how these spots play out in the preseason.  Detroit, known at times to leave players in Grand Rapids or junior while fans wait patiently for the prospects to debut in the Motor City.  The “Detroit Way” is to let the steak marinate overnight before cooking it rather than just throwing it on the grill right from its packaging.

Anthony Mantha was a player everyone wanted to see up almost right from junior.  Fans tend to get impatient at times.  It’s almost like having a new car in the garage but you only have a learner’s permit.  You can’t wait to obtain the full licence.

Fans will be fighting with that feeling constantly in the coming days with Filip Zadina.  The kid fell to Detroit in the draft.  Who would have thought Zadina would fall to 6.  After Montreal didn’t choose Zadina at 3 I was somewhat surprised.  Ottawa took Brady Tkachuk at 4.   He will be a very good player that plays right away for the rebuilding, dysfunctional sens.  Live during the draft I was saying to myself “ok here goes Zadina for sure” to Arizona at 5.  Nope, it was Christmas in June for Detroit Red Wings fans.

The Detroit Red Wings have been starving for a defenceman to log big-time minutes on the regular.  Rasmus Dahlin would have been that player.  It’s unfortunate the ping pong balls didn’t drop in Detroit’s favour but we must move on.

Certainly expecting Zadina to go third in the draft we must assume Detroit had their sights set on Noah Dobson or maybe Michigan’s Quintin Hughes or even Adam Boqvist. All three players highly regarded defencemen.  When Arizona failed to select Zadina it immediately made Ken Holland‘s choice much easier.

Many fans yelling to Ken Holland from their living rooms and the Detroit Red Wings brass to sprint up to the stage and take Zadina.  It was almost a dream come true. I think during the excitement Red Wings fans who follow junior hockey and prospects needed to pinch themselves to make sure it wasn’t a dream.

Filip Zadina fits a much-needed role on this team right from day one.  Filip Zadina is a sniper.  Zadina isn’t a facilitator, he’s a pure goal scorer.   Although the growing pains will still be there.  Every young player goes through them.  This kid may be ready to step right in an play.

If Filip plays his way onto the team out of preseason who better for a youngster to play with then Henrik Zetterberg.  Most importantly the captain is still a very capable  2-way center.  Zetterberg would be able to make up for some rookie mistakes he’s so reliable in all 3 zones.  Finally a beautiful mentor for a young player trying to find his way.

The offence comes naturally to young players making the jump to the pro’s sometimes but the defensive part of any players game normally takes time and extra effort.  Being strong on the wall as a winger, making sure you can chip pucks out of your own zone.  Always aware to cover the point when the defenceman from your side pinches in.  Seems like all basic stuff right?  In the NHL everything is moving what seems like a million miles an hour compared to junior.

Although that’s a big reason The Detroit Red Wings like to groom the youngsters in Grand Rapids.  Known for wanting players to dawn the winged wheel when they are NHL ready not just putting a toe in the water to test the temperature.  In Filip Zadina’s case, I find myself like many wanting him to skip the toe test and jump right into the pool.

Filip would be a power play contributor right away regardless of where Jeff Blashill skates him at even strength.  Zadina loves to hang around the circle and wait for an opportunity to bury an Alex Ovechkin style one-timer.  Detroit struggled mightily at times last year in all special teams departments.  Thomas Vanek will help Detroit’s power play woes but so will Filip Zadina.

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Filip Zadina played his junior hockey last season for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL.  In 57 Regular season games, Zadina tallied 44 Goals & 38 Assists equalling 82 Points.  Zadina would continue to produce in a short playoff stint with 12 Points, 5 Goals in 9 games.