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Top 25 Under 25: Filip Zadina’s blend of skill and swagger puts him at 3

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Czech Republic v Finland: Quarterfinal - 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Nicholas T. LoVerde/Getty Images

It’s been relatively easy to excite Red Wings fans when it comes to prospects, mainly because the organization has always managed to find talent in the draft, but they’ve never managed to scrape up a truly elite top-10 prospect.

Filip Zadina changed that this summer.

The Vitals

Position: LW/RW
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 196 lbs
Shoots: Left
Born: 11/27/99
Birthplace: Pardubice, CZE
Drafted: 2018, 1st round, 6th overall
2017-2018 statline: 57 GP, 44 goals, 38 assists

By now, you’ve probably seen the highlight reels posted on YouTube. When the Red Wings selected Filip Zadina back in June, I’m sure thousands of fans spent hours marveling at his skill, his athleticism, his swagger. Zadina was projected by many as the third-best prospect in the 2018 class — that’s largely thanks to a breakout rookie season with the Halifax Moosehead, and a strong showing at the World Juniors.

Scouts rave about his explosiveness. An extremely fun player to watch because he’s a threat to score every time he’s on the ice. His puckhandling is elite and he often catches defenders flat- footed.
-Future Considerations (2018)

Zadina has what you could call all-around elite talent. He’s shifty, smart, elusive, and his shot is absolutely lethal. Having watched him this summer in the Prospect Tournament, and at Training Camp, there’s no doubt that he is the kind of player you want on your team. During drills at camp this weekend, I noticed that he’s extremely crafty with his stick — not only offensively, but defensively as well. He’ll use his stick to clog passing lanes, and lift opposing players sticks to gain possession. Big whoop, we’ve seen Zetterberg and Datsyuk do that for years — but Zadina is a different type of player.

I’m not going to say that the 18-year-old native of Pardubice (a city which has produced other NHLers such as Dominik Hasek and Tomas Nosek) is some sort of defensive mastermind, but he has the sense to make defensive plays when they need to be made. When you mix that in with his edge work, speed, and dynamite shot — you’ve got yourself the early makings of an impact top-six winger.

There are kinks in Zadina’s game, albeit few. One that I have noticed is his tendency to watch the puck a little too much. In other words, he needs to keep his head up when he comes zipping into the zone carrying the puck. A resounding example of this happened just a week ago:

Thankfully, Zadina returned to the game with no serious injuries. He’ll need to work on this as he transitions into pro hockey — it doesn’t matter how fast you are, there will always be a guy coming after you to get that puck, and in many cases, it ends ugly.

Filip Zadina will get a real shot to play in the NHL this upcoming season. He’s been skating on a line with Andreas Athanasiou and Thomas Vanek in camp, and the result has been an explosive one. Coach Blashill did confirm that he will roll that line in preseason to see where it goes from there. If it strikes offensively like I think it will, we’ll see that line come October.

This is from Sunday’s Red vs White game

If Zadina doesn’t make the NHL roster, he will play in Grand Rapids. After a lot of uncertainty, and some confusion, the loophole in the CHL-NHL deal appears to be factual. So thankfully, we’ll get to see Zadina play pro hockey in the coming months.


Poll

How do you feel about Zadina’s ranking?

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    Perfect.
    (624 votes)
  • 29%
    He needs to be higher
    (278 votes)
  • 4%
    He should be ranked lower
    (45 votes)
947 votes total Vote Now

WIIM Top 25 Under 25 Rankings So Far

4. Michael Rasmussen
5. Andreas Athanasiou
6. Tyler Bertuzzi
7. Filip Hronek
8. Evgeny Svechnikov
9. Dennis Cholowski
10. Joe Veleno
11. Joe Hicketts
12. David Pope
13. Martin Frk
14. Jonattan Berggren
15. Givani Smith
16. Vili Saarijarvi
17. Keith Petruzelli
18. Dominic Turgeon
19. Gustav Lindstrom
20. Jared McIsaac
21. Filip Larsson
22. Christoffer Ehn
23. Alec Regula
24. Axel Holmstrom
25. Jack Adams