The Detroit Red Wings have a need for highly skilled defensemen in their system, but they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a dynamic winger who dropped further than expected Friday at the NHL entry draft.
The Red Wings selected right wing Filip Zadina from Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the No. 6 pick at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Zadina (6-0, 197), who many projected to be selected as high as third, collected 44 goals and 82 points in 57 games for Halifax. The native of Pardubice in the Czech Republic shoots left.
TSN draft analyst Craig Button told MLive that Zadina is an explosive offensive player.
“From the circles down inside the dots he can score from any area in that square ice,” Button said. “Whether you’re on the left side or the right side, whether you’re close to the net, further away from the net, he’s got that great ability to score from that area. He understands how to get himself open and he understands how to get himself unchecked, which is really important for goal-scorers.
“Secondly, he’s a good playmaker. He’s not just a player who needs to score goals to be most effective. … He’s a hungry, determined, competitive goal-scorer. You got to be willing to get inside and willing to be hungry to score and Zadina has all those qualities. He’s got an exceptional release as well. He doesn’t let goaltenders get a read on his shot. There’s a lot of guys who can shoot the puck hard and they can overpower a goaltender, but when you use deception and you have a shot that a goaltender can’t get a read on, that translates to goal-scoring at the NHL level.”
As much as the Red Wings need defensemen and centers, they also need scoring. They ranked 27th in the NHL in goals per game (2.52) in the past three seasons cmobined.
Zadina led all rookies and tied for seventh in the QMJHL in points. He added five goals and seven assists in 12 playoff games. He was named to the QMJHL’s first All-Star team and was awarded the Mike Bossy Trophy as the league’s best professional prospect.
Zadina was named to the World Junior Championship All-Star team after recording seven goals and one assist in seven games.
He models his style of play after former Red Wing Marian Hossa.
Red Line Report said of Zadina: “Deadly shooter is a pure sniper who doesn’t need much time or space to score. Has a heavy, accurate shot and a sixth sense about finding soft areas to release it. Shows excellent puck control. Can score in a variety of ways, and like all great scorers, he’s never deterred — just keeps shooting knowing he’ll eventually find the back of the net. Has a dynamic one-timer and smartly uses (defensemen) to screen his release.”
This was the Red Wings’ highest selection since 1990, when they took center Keith Primeau third overall.
The Red Wings have the 30th pick tonight, acquired from the Vegas Golden Knights (along with a future second- and third-round pick) for Tomas Tatar at the trade deadline.
Detroit has nine more selections Saturday, including two in the second round (Nos. 33 and 36) and three in the third round.