Filip Zadina is one of the most intriguing prospects at the 2018 NHL Draft
The 2018 NHL Draft is shaping up to be a very deep one. Even after the consensus top overall pick Rasmus Dahlin, there’s a lot of depth. Anyone who drafts in the top 10 or 15 spots should get an excellent prospect. Filip Zadina is one of them.
Though the Czech forward isn’t quite up to par with Dahlin, he should still go very early in the draft. Especially after introducing himself to the hockey world with an impressive showing at the 2018 World Juniors.
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Height: 6’1″ (185 cm)
Weight: 192 pounds (87 kilograms)
Team: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL); Czech Republic (WJC)
Country: Czech Republic
Position: Left Wing
Date of birth: Nov. 27, 1999
QMJHL Statistics*: 52 games, 42 goals, 35 assists, 77 points, 34 penalty minutes
WJC Statistics: 7 games, 7 goals, 1 assist, 8 points (U20)
Average Prospect Ranking**: 2.5
*QMJHL stats are as of March 12, 2018
** Average prospect rankings are the collective average of a prospect’s rankings (McKeen’s, Hockey Prospect, Future Considerations, ISS Hockey)
Filip Zadina has a strong overall game. His offensive upside is undeniable. He is a dual threat who is adept at both scoring and passing. Zadina plays on the very dominant Moosehead top forward line that features captain Maxime Fortier and 2016 seventh-round pick Otto Somppi.
He has shown a great two-way game. While his defense is still progressing, he’s further ahead than most prospects at this point. Much like Svechnikov, Zadina can score goals at an impressive rate.
Perhaps his best asset is his puckhandling. Zadina can navigate a defense like a street racer weaves through lanes. His skating isn’t elite, but he’s still extremely good there. Zadina should develop into a very good two-way wing, which is hard to find in today’s NHL.
Don’t get me wrong, Zadina is a very good skater. However, he lacks the explosiveness you like to see in a wing. Zadina’s not going to be someone who creates a ton of breakaways and you can catch up to him.
Also, he has played against older competition. However, Zadina hasn’t been impressive while doing so. Granted, it’s very hard for teenagers to look good when playing against men who play professionally. But it’s still something that has to be considered.
When I see Zadina play, he sometimes gets too caught up in being fancy. He holds onto the puck a little bit too long. But at this point, I’m being nitpicky. There are no huge red flags with Zadina that would make me think he’s not at least the third-best prospect in the 2018 NHL Draft.
Zadina might be the best Czech prospect since Jaromir Jagr. Only one other Czech-born wing has ever gone in the top five of a draft (Pavel Brendl in 1999). There’s no reason to think Zadina won’t join him. He could go as high as second. Even in a worst-case scenario, Zadina’s not falling past number five.
Player comparable: Zadina reminds me a lot of William Nylander as a prospect. He’s incredibly skilled and is extremely creative with the puck. However, Zadina is a better goal scorer than Nylander was when he was a prospect. And that’s quite a compliment to the former.
The Maple Leafs have been wise to let Nylander be creative with the puck while teaching him when he should just make the safe move. Hopefully, Zadina gets drafted by a team willing to do the same. The NHL needs more creative players.
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