3 Detroit Red Wings that deserve more ice time now for next season

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Filip Zadina, Detroit Red Wings, Red Wings
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

Although there have been some ups and downs, overall, it’s been another arduous season for the Detroit Red Wings. The team suffered many injuries throughout the first half of the season, which prevented the organization from gaining much positive momentum. As the Red Wings got healthy, we saw a team capable of being a fringe playoff team. Following the NHL trade deadline, that robust west coast road trip early on in 2023 feels like a year ago.

General manager Steve Yzerman will have many decisions to make this offseason as he tries to piece together a competitive roster yet remains patient with prospects and splash signings until he feels, as a whole, the roster is ready to make a serious playoff run. One thing that has become evident with Yzerman, he is not interested in just making the playoffs or maintaining some playoff streak.

Yzerman wants to put together a roster that is built to advance deep into the postseason, not one that is just one-and-done. Yzerman is committed to building this organization through the draft and developing their own before adding expensive vital pieces to put the team over the top. Ten games are left this season, and the Detroit Red Wings should use them to evaluate a few of their former top prospects properly.

Here are three Detroit Red Wings draft picks that deserve a closer look before the season expires.

The Detroit Red Wings need to consider giving Filip Zadina more ice time down the stretch to accurately assess his skill set and potential future with the organization. Zadina missed a couple of months early this season after suffering a broken leg after blocking a shot. The injury has limited Zadina’s availability to just 30 games to date this season. Over that span, Zadina has recorded just three goals and seven points while maintaining a minus-5 rating.

Zadina, 23, was selected sixth overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2018 NHL Entry Level Draft way of the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. With Halifax, Zadina filled his fair share of nets, and after falling to Detroit at six despite being a consensus top-three pick, Zadina had words for the organizations that passed him up on the draft night, particularly the Montreal Canadiens, who selected center Jesperi Kotkaniemi instead, has yet to fill anyone’s net at the NHL level.

Over his first 190 NHL games, Zadina has totaled 28 goals and 68 points. We’re getting to a make-or-break period with Zadina. Will the talented winger sink or swim at the NHL level? Steve Yzerman and head coach Derek Lalonde need to find out. A way to find out is to give the 23-year-old more responsibility and ice time down the stretch. Zadina has averaged just a hair over 13 minutes of ice time this season; there is no reason he shouldn’t be skating 15 or 16 minutes per night from here on out. Before last season, Yzerman gave Zadina a three-year contract that averages $1.85 million per season.

Notably, Zadina missed Saturday’s game in Philadelphia due to a lower-body injury.