We’ve been waiting for Filip Zadina to live up to his draft expectations, but 2021 may be his break-out season. The Czech forward fell into Detroit’s lap during the 2018 NHL Entry Level Draft at six.
Former Red Wings GM Ken Holland really had no choice but to draft Zadina sixth overall after he’d been basically a pre-draft consensus top-three talent. However, it was widely known the organization had been eyeing a couple of defensemen to replenish their depleted system.
In many cases, we become impatient with highly-touted prospects. We generally expect these high picks to play at the NHL level right away and not only play but be productive. We forget some players need time to develop after making the leap from junior hockey.
Zadina recorded 44 goals, totaled 82 points in one year with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL before being drafted by the Red Wings. During his first professional year, the young forward spent nine games in Detroit, scoring one goal and adding two assists. The Red Wings were allowing their top prospect an opportunity to get his feet wet in Detroit, but he spent 59 games in Grand Rapids with the Griffins 16 goals totaling 35 points.
Last season Zadina split the year between Detroit and Grand Rapids. With the Griffins, Zadina scored nine goals adding seven assists in 21 games. This time his production didn’t drop off much after making the leap to Detroit, recording eight goals and 15 points in 28 games.
The young forward played 17 games this season in the Czech league with Trinec Ocelari HC during the COVID-19 pandemic recording eight goals and 14 points, which is an excellent sign of things to come for the Red Wings.
Zadina is poised to start the season as a top-six forward playing alongside veteran Bobby Ryan and Robby Fabbri to start the year; Zadina will have an opportunity to record 15 goals in 2021.