Detroit Red Wings: Zadina heading to the top line?

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Filip Zadina is one of the Detroit Red Wings younger forwards, and his underwhelming performance this season has been a hot-button issue among the fanbase. Well, todays practice lines are sure to get fans fired up.

According to The Athletic’s Max Bultman, Zadina was given a top-line role in practice.

However, this does not guarantee that Zadina will be on the top line for tommorow’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

“We’ll look at the practice tape and see if we want to stay with it or not,” said Head Coach Jeff Blashill during media availability.

In the past, this sort of move right before a game is typically a solid indicator of what the lines will actually look like. It’s not a certainty yet, but it sure looks as though Zadina will have a shot on the top line.

Helping Zadina’s case for the top line is how well the Tyler Bertuzzi has done with the second line. For most of the season, Bertuzzi has been alongside Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond on the top line. But in recent weeks, he’s been shifted down alongside Robby Fabbri and Pius Suter (completing the “Guelph Line”). The trio is building chemistry quickly.

Vladislav Namestnikov initially took Bertuzzi’s role on the top line. It wasn’t a massive success – while Vladdy wasn’t bad alongside Larkin and Raymond (he’s a very complimentary player), he just did not seem to gel well with their pace of offense. In Zadina, the top line may have a skilled forward that has the ability to turn things up when needed.

A move to the top line for Zadina also makes sense considering his recent stretch of play. He looks significantly more confident, scoring three points in his last four games (a goal and two assists). That’s by no means blowing any doors off, but it indicates a positive shift in Zadina’s progression. Also, Zadina has been doing it with third line minutes (usually less than 12 minutes per game).

It might finally be time for him to showcase his abilities with some more time. Either way, it is sure to divide the fanbase.

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