Firmly in the third overall spot is the Czech winger, Filip Zadina
A dynamic goal scorer with fantastic skating skill, Zadina impressed throughout the entire 2017-18 season with the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads. Sure, it’s his performance at the World Junior Hockey Championships that caught everyone’s attention, but he’s shined all season regardless of the stage.
He may ultimately slip a bit due to teams prioritizing positional need, but Zadina is deserving of his third overall billing by the CanucksArmy consensus list.
- Age/Birthdate:17.80/ November 27, 1999
- Frame:6-foot-1/ 192 lbs
- Draft Year Team:Halifax Mooseheads(QMJHL)
- Czech U16 Playoffs Most Assists (8)
- Czech U16 Playoffs Most Points (11)
- U18 WJC Top 3 Player on Team
- Hlinka Memorial Gold Medal
- U18 WJC Top 3 Player on Team
- QMJHL All-Rookie Team
- QMJHL Best Professional Prospect (Mike Bossy Trophy)
- QMJHL First All-Star Team
- QMJHL Most Assists by Rookie (38)
- QMJHL Most Goals by Rookie (44)
- QMJHL Most Points by Rookie (82)
- U20 WJC All-Star Team
Zadina was originally drafted by the Vancouver Giants in the 2016 CHL Import draft but never made the leap over to the WHL. Rumour has it that he was hoping to secure a full-time spot with the Extraliga team in the Czech Republic and didn’t want to compromise that opportunity. He was limited to two games in the main league in 2016-17 and wanted to go across the pond by mid-season, but the Giants had relinquished his rights by then.
So Zadina re-entered the CHL import draft in 2017 and was selected by the Halifax Mooseheads with the 11th overall selection.
The Dubuque Fighting Saints also spent a draft pick on him in the seventh round of the USHL Entry Draft; so too did the KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslav in the fifth round of their 2016 Draft.
Zadina represented the Czech Republic at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament to start the 2016-17 season, posting five goals and two assists in four games.
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Zadina jumps off the page concerning percentile placing.
The only categories that aren’t pushing through the top are his GF% and GFREL%, but both are satisfactory in the grand scheme of things.
His involvement percentage ranks third among this draft class trailing only Jonatan Berggren (39.3%) and Evan Bouchard (37.8%).
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
Zadina sits fifth among his first-time draft-eligible peers by the SEAL (Situation Era Age League) scoring adjustments, trailing only Oliver Wahlstrom, Joel Farabee, and the two players ahead of him on our board.
All great signs for this group of graphs – high production based on ice-time and made every player around him better.
An extremely high success rate with high expected points. Some interesting names on there with Claude Giroux and Jason Pominville as reasonably close comparables.
Zadina is a dazzling player with incredible skating and shooting abilities.
The left-handed winger can single-handily create offence on his own and in a variety of ways. He has quick, active and agile skating that see his feet never stop moving. He has fantastic two-step quickness from a stopped position and also can create separation while already near top speed. His agility on his feet and long reach allow him to keep the puck on his stick easily, dangling in and out of coverage to find a seam to release his wrist shot. Zadina can do this at any speed, which makes him such an exciting offensive weapon.
When given any space to unleash his shot, he pulls it back and releases it with an extreme velocity that goalies in the CHL don’t even have time with which to react. Despite taking that time to load up, it’s deceptive in its release. He loves to shoot the puck, all the time and finished seventh in the QMJHL in shots per game with an average of 4.11 per game.
Many point to his goal-scoring abilities as elite, but it unfairly knocks his playmaking game down. He is a soft passer who can find his teammates with ease. He can do all of this at the same speeds that his elite skating and puck-handling allow… as long as the line-mate can keep up.
Zadina isn’t afraid to deke out defenders. Putting the puck in their feet while they retreat, causing the defender to lose sight of the puck, scramble, and eventually losing Zadina as a check. His speed and dangles allow him to be elusive in different ways than just slipping in and out of coverage.
The Mooseheads forward is willing to get dirty in the offensive zone. If the puck is in the corners, he’ll be there grinding it out.
When on the attack, Zadina makes you come out of your seat as he plays the game at a different speed and level than almost every opponent he faces.
Zadina is responsible in his own zone regarding clogging up passing lanes and keeping tight to his check. He does struggle to get the puck out of the zone, generally waiting for the right chance. He is adept at finding a gap in coverage when his team regains possession of the puck, allowing his team-mates to move it to him in stride.
Zadina excels concerning generating offence and entering the zone. Those stand out when watching his game as he holds onto the puck to gain the zone and then works his magic from there. His scoring chances per 60 and shots per 60 are through the roof good.
The data supports the issues that we see on the defensive side of the game – he struggles at times to get the puck out and generally doesn’t do it himself.
Up until quite recently, the discourse around the hockey community was that this draft class was Rasmus Dahlin and then three wingers. Those three wingers are Andrei Svechnikov, Filip Zadina and Brady Tkachuk. I’ve always viewed it as Dahlin and then the two forwards, Svechnikov and Zadina. Throughout the year, Zadina was close to Svechnikov but has now with full data sets available, Zadina is likely closer to the pack from four onwards, but he should be on an island at three on his own.
He is an electrifying player who has a fantastic shot that can allow him to score goals at will while being no slouch in the play-making aspects. He isn’t the best defensive player but is not a detriment to his team overall. His data suggests high production, high success rate and puck possession. All good signs for the winger.
Ultimately, he may not go third overall this draft class, but it’s fair to believe that he is the third best player in the draft class. (and like Jeremy, I’ve been high on Kotkaniemi all year long)
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From Future Considerations:
An all-round elite player with pretty good size, he is a superb skater. Very smooth, he is wellbalanced and very agile. A solid youngster on his skates. Top speed is above average. So is his acceleration. His feet are always moving. He’s never stationary, so it seems like he’s everywhere. Scouts rave about his explosiveness. An extremely fun player to watch because he’s a threat to score every time he’s on the ice. His puckhandling is elite and he often catches defenders flatfooted. He can evade pressure and protect the puck at high speeds, and he especially loves to attack open spaces. He’s got a nose for the net and likes to set up in that low-slot area. During battles in the corner or while being checked, you don’t see him being pushed away from the puck. His shot is already considered by scouts to be at a pro level – in other words, NHL-ready. Because of his hockey IQ, he can dominate games. He also uses his teammates well. Defensively, he appears to be aware of his responsibilities. He will put his stick in passing lanes and take his man on the backcheck. With Halifax, Zadina produced 82 points, including 44 goals, in 57 appearances. Very high expectations for the Czech on draft day. While he does project as a better winger, he does have the ability to play down the middle allowing him to be a versatile option.
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CanucksArmy’s 2018 NHL Draft Rankings