Filip Zadina showed the Detroit Red Wings in 2019-2020 that he is ready for the NHL. The Red Wings want to see this season if the sixth overall pick in 2018 can be a top attacking player.
“His confidence seemed to grow last year. He had a little more arrogance with the puck, looked more dynamic with the puck, ”said coach Jeff Blashill. “He comes into this year expecting to be a guy who can be a go-to guy. He has to prove it on a daily basis.
Zadina, 21, has this opportunity at training camp, playing on the second line, centered by Robby Fabbri and with newly acquired Bobby Ryan on the right wing.
“I’m doing everything I can to be in the top six forwards,” Zadina said. “I think training camp and the regular season will be very different, especially for the guys who haven’t played (for a long time). We’re going to have some scrums that I have to show them I’m ready to be in the top six.
Zadina appeared to lack confidence in camp last year and started the season with the Grand Rapids Griffins. He got off to a good start and was called back in November. He had eight goals and seven assists in 28 games for the Red Wings before being held back by a broken ankle in early February. He was set to return before the league closed due to COVID-19.
Zadina was one of several young Red Wings loaned to European clubs in the fall. He gained valuable experience playing 17 matches with Trinec Ocelari of the Czech League, picking up eight goals and six assists.
“He missed hockey last year, but had a good year in terms of growth,” said Blashill. “If he had been out for 10 months like a lot of us, I think that would have held back some of that growth. The fact that he played in a league that is a tough league – guys are heavy, they’re men, they play hard, not what i would call a cute, skilled league – it was good for him.
“Competing with the puck is a big success factor for skilled forwards, especially the guys who are a bit shorter, and I think he’s learning to compete with the puck consistently. When he does, he’s got a lot more puck. It’s been a precious few months playing there and I think it helped him find the ground running here.
Zadina called it a good experience that got him in shape.
“I feel more confident than ever before, being on the puck and especially when I was playing games in the Czech Republic, it made me feel more comfortable on the ice,” said Zadina.
“Me and Fil (Hronek, also loaned to a Czech team), it did us good. We are still young players and we have to play a lot. We have to use that as an advantage in this camp and show the coaches and everyone that we are ready to ride.
Blashill said Zadina has developed a better pass-and-go game.
“I think one of the evolutions of his game was learning to play against other people and not just trying to grab the puck and haul it around those scoring areas,” said Blashill.
Zadina said the long offseason provided an opportunity to work on “everything”.
“I gained muscle and weight,” he said. “I believe in the offensive zone and around the net, I’m stronger and I can find pucks and create chances for my teammates.
“I know where I’m supposed to be and putting the puck where I can shoot definitely gets easier. “
At the bar : Blashill said Darren Helm was “unfit to train today”. He did not disclose the reason or say whether it was an overnight or longer term event.
Mathias Brome replaced Helm on the left wing on the line with Luke Glendening and Adam Erne.