Detroit Red Wings: Blashill Hints to Grand Rapids Start for Zadina

Filip Zadina for the Red Wings. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Filip Zadina for the Red Wings. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Filip Zadina scored a nice OT goal last evening for the Detroit Red Wings against the Bruins in Boston.  The nifty pass came from Luke Glendening, and Zadina made it count.

Zadina played 16:03 and was a plus 1.  It was a nice bounce-back game for the young rookie forward.  The night prior in Chicago the Detroit Red Wings displayed an eight-goal outburst, Zadina was held off the scorecard and was a minus 1.

The idea of starting Z in Grand Rapids gives us a sour taste in our mouth.  A rebuilding Red Wings team and we have to start this young difference maker in the AHL?  It may make a little sense.  If your Ken Holland and Jeff Blashill you’re granted a bit of flexibility because you have the option to send him to the Griffins at the age of 18.

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Most players would need to be returned to junior hockey, which would be the case with big Michael Rasmussen.  So what is the harm with starting Zadina down and as soon as he starts to excel bring him up to play with the big guys!  Ras will be making this team out of camp unlike last season, Detroit doesn’t want to lose him for the season to Junior this year.

He mentioned himself after the first preseason game he wasn’t prepared for the speed of the NHL.  Z didn’t think the pace would be that much of a difference.  He is starting to find his way now though.  I wouldn’t have a problem with starting him in GR and making sure you get him up to Detroit in a month or so as long as he is performing at a high level.

Per Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press;

"“Understanding how to create space is something that when you’re not super fast or super big, sometimes it takes a little while,” Blashill said.Blashill pointed to Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov as an example of a player who is now among the superstars of the NHL, but who at age 20 was playing in the AHL. Zadina is 18.“That’s the reality of a lot of guys like that, that aren’t super fast, aren’t really big — you have to learn through your hockey smarts how to find that little bit of space to create more. I think Filip’s been real close to making a number of plays. He’s had chances. They haven’t quite gone in yet. I think they will go in. But it’s going to be a matter of a process with him and how long that is, I don’t know.“I don’t worry about him, long-term, at all. In the short-term, we’ll have to make some decisions.”"

Reading a little between the lines, it certainly seems Jeff Blashill is leaning towards sending Z down just because he can. It won’t be the popular decision among Detroit Red Wings fans, but with the team out of contention, it may work best for the player in this situation as long as the organization is committed to recalling him reasonably quick.

That being said, if the organization does start Z in GR, I don’t want to see Jussi Jokinen or Luke Witowski starting every night.  It has to be Evgeny Svechnikov, worst case Martin Frk but I don’t expect Frk to be the guy.

Next. Former Detroit Red Wings forward Joe Murphy Living Homeless. dark

Frk missed to much time throughout training camp and the majority of the preseason which doesn’t bode well for him.  Oh, and if you follow the Detroit Red Wings, you know Frk isn’t precisely Jeff Blashill’s favorite player.