More Roster Moves: Detroit Recalls Zadina and McIlrath from Grand Rapids

This morning, Detroit recalled Filip Zadina and Dylan McIlrath from the Grand Rapid Griffins. You may remember that they sent those two players down, along with defenseman Dennis Cholowski, who remains in Grand Rapids.

If you are baffled as to why Detroit would make this series of moves, you are not alone. It doesn’t seem to have any relevance to helping with the salary cap, if you were wondering.

The only thing that seems to make sense is that a trade was in the works that fell through. After the roster moves were announced, we got a little information, but it’s the type that only raises more questions:

Andreas Athanasiou is reportedly “iffy” for tonight, which could explain why Zadina was recalled today.

The team press release follows:


… Zadina Has Posted Three Assists in Last Four NHL Games …

.DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today recalled right wing Filip Zadina and defenseman Dylan McIlrath from the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

Zadina has appeared in seven games for Detroit this season, picking up three assists, all coming in Detroit’s last four games (Nov. 30-Dec. 10). The 20-year-old winger has appeared in 16 career NHL games over the last two seasons (2018-20), registering one goal, five assists, 27 shots on goal, nine hits, six blocked shots and six takeaways in 14:51 average time on ice. Zadina has also skated in 20 games with the Griffins this season, ranking among team leaders with seven goals (3rd), six assists (T7th), 13 points (3rd), four power-play goals (2nd) and 48 shots (3rd). Prior to his initial recall to Detroit on Nov. 24, Zadina had authored one of his most productive stretches so far in the AHL, registering points in six-straight games from Nov. 8-22 (4-4-8). In 79 games with Grand Rapids over the last two seasons, the Pardubice, Czech Republic, native has logged 48 points (23-25-48) and 26 penalty minutes.

Originally drafted in the first round (sixth overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound forward spent the 2017-18 season with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, totaling 82 points (44-38-82) in 57 games to place seventh overall in league scoring. He also led QMJHL rookies in scoring and earned a spot on the QMJHL First All-Star Team and All-Rookie Team, while winning the Mike Bossy Trophy as the league’s best professional prospect. Zadina also tied for the Halifax lead in playoff scoring by collecting 12 points (5-7-12) in nine games. Internationally, Zadina represented his country at the 2018 and 2019 IIHF World Junior Championships. At the 2018 tournament, Zadina led the Czechs with seven goals and eight points in seven games, earning a spot on the WJC All-Star Team. He previously won a gold medal with the Czech Republic at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament after posting a tournament-best seven points (5-2-7) in four games. Zadina received his first taste of professional action between 2015-17, picking up two points (1-1-2) over 27 games for HC Pardubice in the top Czech league.

McIlrath, 27, has appeared in 16 games with Detroit this season and ranks among team leaders with 23 penalty minutes (2nd) and 48 hits (3rd) in 14:49 average ice time per game. He has also skated in 10 games with the Griffins in 2019-20, registering three points (0-3-3) and 15 penalty minutes. McIlrath has totaled 66 NHL appearances since making his NHL debut in 2013-14, totaling five points (3-2-5) and 121 penalty minutes with the New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Red Wings. McIlrath has also played in 363 career AHL games with the Connecticut Whale, Hartford Wolf Pack, Springfield Thunderbirds and Griffins since 2010-11, registering 77 points (21-56-77), a plus-28 rating and 775 penalty minutes. The Winnipeg, Manitoba, native won a 2017 Calder Cup championship with the Griffins and has chipped in seven points (0-7-7), a plus-13 rating and 71 penalty minutes in 48 career AHL postseason games.

A former first-round pick (10th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Rangers and was acquired in a trade by Detroit from Florida on March 1, 2017, McIlrath skated in 232 Western Hockey League games for the Moose Jaw Warriors prior to turning professional, posting 74 points (16-58-74) and 551 penalty minutes from 2008-12, adding seven assists and 48 penalty minutes in 27 postseason contests. He also skated in the Canadian Hockey League Top Prospects Game during the 2009-10 campaign.