The Detroit Red Wings recently completed training camp was a chance for Filip Zadina to prove he was ready for the NHL. However, he only registered three points in seven pre-season games. Zadina will start the season with Detroit’s American Hockey League affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins.
Some Wings fans see fellow draft picks like Jesperi Kotkaniemi make the Montreal Canadiens straight out camp and wonder why Zadina couldn’t’ do the same thing. However, the young Czech spending time in the minors is a good thing.
Filip Zadina to Start Pro Career in Grand Rapids
Zadina was regarded as the best pure goal-scorer in the most recent draft. Many were surprised that he fell into general manager Ken Holland’s lap at No. 6. Some projected that Zadina had a shot at making the Red Wings out of camp. His game-winning goal to end the prospect’s game got fans hoping that he’d be an instant star.
However, his pre-season stats didn’t impress Holland or head coach Jeff Blashill enough to warrant a spot on the team. Zadina needed productive minutes and sticking him on the fourth line wouldn’t allow that.
The left winger thought he would make the big club out of camp but wasn’t able to create space and lacked confidence in spots. It wasn’t all bad as Zadina displayed a terrific shot that made scouts salivate. He was also trying to acclimate to the speed of the NHL game. Zadina still needs to get used to the speed of the big league.
“So, yeah, I will work on those things,” Zadina said to the media. “I’ll do my best here and help the team to win games and hopefully they will call me up at some point.”
Griffins coach Ben Simon will now monitor the 18-year old’s progress and see if the young prospect is worthy of a call-up.
The Path to Grand Rapids
The NHL ruled that Zadina was on loan from his Czech club, HC Dynamo Pardubice, to play in the Canadian junior ranks. Zadina played last season with the season with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He would have stayed in the Maritimes had he been property of Halifax.
Detroit can now monitor Zadina’s development closer to home. He can also be available for call ups as needed. The team wouldn’t have access to him until the end of the Mooseheads’ season if he was returned to the QMJHL.
What it Means for the Future
It’s fine that Zadina will start off in the American Hockey League. Other star NHL players have started there, so it’s not a new thing. Zadina’s situation is comparable to Tampa Bay Lightning star forward Nikita Kucherov.
Zadina has a similar skill set to that of Kucherov as both are speedy wingers that can score. Kucherov was also sent to the AHL, but quickly made an impact with the Syracuse Crunch. He was called up and has grown into one of the deadlier scorers in the league.
Players like Filip Forsberg also started out in the minors to get fur
ther seasoning before thriving in the big league. Zadina has all the tools to be a great player in the league and going to Grand Rapids will help.
Zadina was close to making plays at times, but the extra bit of fine-tuning will go a long way to making it happen in the NHL.
DALLAS, TX – JUNE 22: Filip Zadina reacts after being selected sixth overall by the Detroit Red Wings during the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)