Detroit Red Wings: 3 forwards ready to breakout in 2021

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Detroit Red Wings
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Filip Zadina

The Detroit Red Wings had high-hopes and surely still do when it comes to forward Filip Zadina.  The organization rushed to the stage after the highly-touted offensive-minded winger fell out of the top-three back in 2018.

Zadina, by all accounts, had been widely projected as the third overall pick behind the consensus first overall selection Rasmus Dahlin, who landed in Buffalo and Andrei Svechnikov, who is surging with the Carolina Hurricanes, brother of Red Wings forward Evgeny.

As the Montreal Canadiens started to announce their choice, I’m sure Zadina started to rise, only to be stopped in his tracks as the announcement read Jesperi Kotkaniemi instead.  Montreal later made it known they were in the market for a center, leaving winger Zadina on the board.  Many expected he’d then land in Ottawa who’d been picking next. Still, the Sens elected to choose gritty winger Brady Tkachuk, and he’s already totaled 43 goals and 89 points in the NHL, second only to Svechnikov in the entire draft class.

Arizona possessed the fifth pick in the draft only to select another forward not named Zadina.  The Coyotes went with center Barrett Hayton leaving Zadina for the taking at six.  At the time, it felt like a windfall for the Red Wings who desperately needed a potential top-six scoring threat to emerge over the next couple of seasons.  The unfortunate news is that Vancouver selected a stand-out defender in Quinn Hughes with the next pick, and he’s become a spectacular NHL player at just 20-years old.

Filip Zadina struggled to find his way in Detroit, producing nine goals and nine assists over his first 37 NHL games.  It could be worse, but we’d hoped to see an Andrei Svechnikov-type scorer, someone knocking on the door of amassing 100 career points already.

Zadina is a streaky-scorer by all accounts, and that proved right during his first professional season playing in Grand Rapids.  Zadina tallied 16 goals and 35 points in 59 games played.  He started this past season back with the Griffins enjoying a much more balanced scoring pace notching nine goals and 16 points in just 21 games before getting the call to Detroit.

The 20-year old forward scored eight goals and added seven assists with Detroit through 28 games.  Detroit needs Zadina to emerge as a top-six forward, and perennial 20-goal scorer very soon, and 2020-21 could be when it all starts to come together for the young sniper.