Filip Zadina, now on waivers, was vital to the Canucks landing Quinn Hughes
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
2 months ago
The Canucks seem to have dodged a bullet thanks to the Detroit Red Wings.
A more accurate analogy would actually be that the Red Wings leapt in front of the Canucks to take a bullet for them.
With news today of the Red Wings placing 23-year-old winger Filip Zadina on waivers, we thought it’d be fitting to revisit how the Canucks nearly ended up with him instead of franchise defenceman Quinn Hughes on draft day back in 2018.
In the months leading up to the draft in Dallas, it was widely agreed upon that this was the Rasmus Dahlin draft, with Andrei Svechnikov serving as a perfectly fine consolation prize at number two.
Beyond those two, however, there was plenty of debate. Filip Zadina, Brady Tkachuk, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Quinn Hughes were largely thought to be the next tier of players available in the draft, with many scouting outlets putting them in that order, too.
So when Montreal shook up the draft board slightly by selecting Kotkaniemi with pick number three, people started to take notice. The Senators selected their future captain at number four, and the Arizona Coyotes went way off the board when they drafted Barrett Hayton with pick number five.
It was with the Coyotes’ pick that Canucks fans became absolutely ecstatic — and that was because the Vancouver Canucks were guaranteed one of Quinn Hughes or Filip Zadina at pick number seven.
At the time, there were very few fans who would have been disappointed if the Red Wings selected Hughes and the Canucks were left with Zadina. Zadina was considered by many as a top five — sometimes even top three — talent in the draft class and the Canucks had just drafted Elias Pettersson the season prior. Drafting a proficient scorer like Zadina certainly seemed like a great outcome to many Canucks fans.
But it seemed even greater to the Red Wings and general manager Ken Holland, who didn’t hesitate to make Zadina Detroit’s pick at sixth overall, leaving Hughes for the Canucks at seven.
Since then, Hughes has emerged as one of the NHL’s best defencemen, and at 23, has already broken multiple Canucks franchise records. Hughes finished this past season two points shy of a point-per-game pace, and has already tallied 241 points through the first 283 games of his NHL career.
Meanwhile, Zadina has tallied 28 goals and 40 assists over his 190 games in the NHL and has struggled to find a home in the Red Wings’ lineup. And now, with two years remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $1.825 million, he’s on waivers.
It will be interesting to see if another NHL team takes a flyer on Zadina, and it’s almost hard to imagine that at least one team won’t given his draft pedigree and the flashes he’s shown at the NHL level.
No matter who takes him, Canucks fans will always be thankful that it was Detroit that took him first.
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