How Filip Zadina’s game has evolved to help Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Free Press

Helene St. James | Detroit Free Press

Filip Zadina is mature enough to understand the need for patience, but that doesn’t mean he likes it.

He’s one of the primary players the Detroit Red Wings count on for production, but 11 games in, he only has one goal and three assists. When the Wings host the Florida Panthers on Friday, Zadina is likely to be on a line with Dylan Larkin — and depending on how things go, Anthony Mantha could join them. That’s not the most equitable distribution of skilled forwards, but the Wings are desperate after scoring just two goals combined in their past two games.

CHICAGO BLUES: ‘Beat down’ Red Wings fighting frustration of close losses

VETERAN PRESENCE: How Sam Gagner has carved a vital leadership role for the Red Wings

BLANK CHECK: Wings create chances, lose special teams battle in 2-0 loss to Blackhawks

“We would love to score as a unit,” Zadina said Thursday. “It’s not coming our way so far but we had good looks last game. It’s coming. We just have to keep going, keep competing every shift. We have good chances on net. We just have to be patient and work hard and get to the net more.”

Zadina, 21, was among five Wings who missed two weeks battling COVID-19. He returned Feb. 5 and said he has felt good since the first couple games back. The Wings have played well overall the past seven games, especially on the defensive side.  They’ve been without Tyler Bertuzzi, who left the game Jan. 30 with an upper-body injury and is unavailable at least through the weekend.

Several players’ offensive output has lagged: Mantha has one goal in six games, Larkin doesn’t have a point in the past four games and Bobby Ryan has gone 14 games without a goal (after scoring four times in his first three).

Zadina’s goal came Feb. 9, but the rest of his game has been respectable.

“I think Filip has done a good job,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He’s gaining more confidence — even in practice, you could see him making plays. When you are young, you value, probably, production, and as you get older you start to realize it’s all about winning. Not that he doesn’t want to win, he totally does. But when you are young, a lot of times when you’re young you end up pressing for offense or cheating for offense, and I think he’s done a pretty good job of not doing that.of of

“He’s done a pretty good job of understand he has to be a complete player, that the goal is to try to win the game. You’re not going to score every shift and you’re not going to score every game, and yet you can still have a positive impact on the game.”

Zadina showed off his one-timer in Wednesday’s loss to Chicago, rattling off shot after shot — including one off the crossbar — from the right circle on a couple of power plays. But the Wings don’t want that to become rote; rather, it’s about learning how the best players in the league create havoc.

“They get the puck, and sometimes they one-time it, sometimes they seam-pass it on a fake slap shot, sometimes they shoot it for a shot-tip,” Blashill said. “I think adding all that into his arsenal, and not just relying on the one-timer, is important, but it’s a learning process. You want to have that weapon, but you want to be able to do more with it. I do think he’s done a pretty good job on that half-wall of not just being a stationary one-timer guy. When he gets the puck in a one-timer spot, it’s just making those reads of what’s the best spot available.”

Zadina looked significantly improved during training camp, showing a willingness to try to take the puck from opponents. Now the challenge is to put the puck in the net – and help his team get rewarded for playing well.

“We are trying to get up from the bottom right now,” he said. “We are doing a good job and we just have to keep going. We want to win, we are hungry for it.”

Contact Helene St. James at Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 


Articles You May Like

Bruins & Red Wings Could Make Massive Trade at 2023 Deadline
From J.J.
Red Wings Have Hidden Gem Trade Deadline Target from Coyotes
Red Wings’ Bertuzzi Desperately Needs a Big February
Islanders Could Still Flip Bo Horvat: 3 Potential Trade Targets

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *