It Might Be Time For The Detroit Red Wings To Move On From Filip Zadina

Filip Zadina trade
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Filip Zadina was a highly sought-after prospect in 2018. Most projected the Czech winger to be the third-best prospect in the draft behind only Rasmus Dahlin and Andrei Svechnikov.

When he slipped to the Detroit Red Wings at 6th overall, many thought he could become the steal of the draft. It hasn’t however, worked out that way for Zadina or the Red Wings. That means a Filip Zadina trade could come in the near future.

What The Red Wings Could Get In A Filip Zadina Trade

What Zadina Offers The Red Wings

In Zadina, the Detroit Red Wings got a player with a full offensive toolbox. Zadina was thought of as a rare pure goal scorer. After all, he’d put up 44 goals in his first season in North America with the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads. That same year he scored 7 goals in 7 games at the World Junior Championships.

When Jesperi Kotkaniemi went third, many were surprised. Next, it was Brady Tkachuk at fourth. Both have turned into productive NHLers. At fifth, the Arizona Coyotes chose Barrett Hayton, who looks like more of a miss than Zadina at this point.

What the Red Wings thought they were getting was an elite goal scorer. What they’ve got so far, is a player who has yet to hit double digits in goals, and looks as though he’ll struggle to reach 30 points.

When the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators passed on Zadina, he vowed to make them pay. “If they will pass on me, I’m going to fill their nets with pucks,” he said at the time. So far, the Canadiens and Senators look like winners and the Red Wings losers.

To add insult to injury, the seventh overall pick turned out to be Quinn Hughes.

An End To Detroit’s Draft Failures

The selection of Filip Zadina is beginning to look like the punctuation on an era of draft flops for the Red Wings.

In 2017, the Red Wings took Michael Rasmussen at #9. Although he’s a bonafide NHLer, Rasmussen has seldom moved beyond a checking line role for the Wings. For a hoped scoring power forward, Rasmussen has been a flop.

In 2016, Detroit selected Dennis Cholowski 20th overall. Cholowski was never able to make the Red Wings. He was left exposed in the expansion draft and was selected by Seattle, who have since waived Cholowski multiple times. His NHL career looks close to being done without a miracle.

In 2015, the Wings took Evgeny Svechnikov 19th overall. He’s now playing a depth role with the Winnipeg Jets after the Wings let him walk.

For a team entering a rebuilding phase, it was four devastating swings and misses.

Since then, however, the Wings look to have hit home run after home run in the selection of Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond, Simon Edvinsson and Sebastian Cossa. The future is again looking bright, albeit a few years later than hoped.

The Red Wings Should Make The Filip Zadina Trade Happen

For both parties, it’s likely time to move on. Zadina’s metrics look ok, but they haven’t translated into goals. With Raymond emerging as an elite talent, and Larkin and Bertuzzi producing consistently, the Red Wings have options upfront. This is especially true when Jakub Vrana is in the lineup.

If Detroit does not trade Zadina this year, it would be for the sole purpose of giving him time with more talented linemates upon the return of Vrana to see if it can spark his game. Failing that, he will undoubtedly be dangled by Steve Yzerman in trade talks to continue the Red Wings’ rebuild.

What Could The Red Wings Get In Return?

This is where it gets tricky. If Detroit doesn’t act now, the risk of his value shrinking to the point of Cholowski. At this point, Zadina looks skilled and ready to score, without the points to prove it. The most likely move then is to find a positional need and swap one struggling prospect for another.

One such beleaguered prospect could be Ottawa Senators defender Erik Brannstrom, the 2017 15th pick. Brannstrom is up and down between the NHL and AHL. Detroit would likely look for something else in return, but Zadina would fit in nicely with the young, talented forward corps in Ottawa, while Brannstrom would add mobility to Detroit’s aged blueline.

Another possibility would be the Red Wings making a package deal offer to swap Zadina for a more established forward like Travis Konecny. Konecny has fallen out of favour in Philadelphia, and his future there is definitely in question. The trade would make sense for both sides, as long as Detroit added another piece.

Who else will the Red Wings shop?

Almost anyone is available, save for the Wings few brightest young stars. The most likely names to move include veteran defenders Nick Leddy and Marc Staal who could add deadline depth to a contender. Detroit would love to dump Thomas Greiss and Danny DeKeyser as well, but that market will be slim. Vladislav Namestnikov and Sam Gagner could be low-cost depth pick-ups at forward. The other name that has emerged recently is Filip Hronek. Now a solidified NHL player with offensive upside, he’d fetch a strong return, which if packaged with a player like Zadina, could turn into a much bigger splash.

Whether he stays or goes, time is running out for Zadina to prove himself as an elite NHL talent.

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