When Filip Zadina finally earned a full-time roster spot, Detroit Red Wings fans rejoiced. After watching first-rounders like Evgeny Svechnikov and Dennis Cholowski struggle to make an impact, hope appeared on the horizon with Zadina’s emergence. Originally drafted for his goal-scoring abilities, Zadina has yet to translate that success on the NHL level. While he’s done a fine job on the defensive end, his confidence with his shot appears to be lacking. There’s a lot to love about Zadina’s game — but there’s also quite a bit that needs improvement.
Expectations for Filip Zadina
Fans too often witnessed Zadina either shoot too wide, too high, or right into the goaltender’s chest. It became more of an exercise in frustration than a sign of development. This season will need to be big for the forward in order to justify his placement in the lineup. Will Zadina succeed as a top-line forward, or remain firmly a second-liner? This season’s expectations should play a key part in his future.
1. Put the Puck on Net
When Zadina first entered the NHL, he made a remark about the teams that passed on him, saying he was going to “fill their nets with pucks”. With just 15 goals in 86 games, the goal-scoring aficionado has yet to live up to his own expectations. In order to become a legitimate offensive threat, he’ll need to — you guessed it — generate more offence. His goal this year should be simplifying his game. Zadina was caught too often last season overthinking his shot before sending it wide. He needs to trust his gut in order to ensure further success.
2. Build Up Confidence Across the Board
As of right now, Zadina appears to be a very confidence-driven player. When he’s on, he’s on. He scores and puts up points in streaks, like his 11-point streak in the AHL in 2019-20. This season will be his first 82-game season. In order to put up points, he’ll need to figure out how to extend his hot streaks. The more he scores, the more he’ll bolster his confidence. If Lucas Raymond remains with the team on a full-time basis, he’ll certainly help Zadina with the former. It’s only a matter of finishing.
3. Work on Consistency
There are games where Zadina looks like the best forward on the ice, and there are games where he’s virtually invisible. This season will give Zadina — and the Red Wings — a better idea of what type of player he can be. General manager Steve Yzerman mentioned that the wins and losses record is not an indication of success this season. Zadina should use this season to smooth out the rough parts of his game as he evolves his play style. He’s shown great success as a two-way forward. This is the year he can become a goal-scoring machine.
Point Expectations for Filip Zadina
In a best-case scenario, Zadina finds his scoring touch and flourishes, putting up the first of what will be many 20+ goal seasons. Realistically, however, his point totals will depend on how he approaches the games where he doesn’t score. As long as he doesn’t lose sight of who he can become, he could end the season with upwards of 50-55 points. With those expectations in mind, a successful season for Zadina will be a 45-point season — just a hair above half a point-per-game. This year should be a foundation on the fundamentals of his game. He’s shown his success almost everywhere else on the ice — now it’s time to make it count across a full 82-game season.