The Detroit Red Wings were true to their word today, sending Filip Zadina back to the minor leagues after his nine-game stint in the NHL. Zadina would have burned a year of his entry-level contract by playing in an additional game, and could have become eligible for the 2021 expansion draft if he stayed any longer than that. Instead, he’ll rejoin the Grand Rapids Griffins for the end of the season.
Zadina recorded one goal and three points during his short time in the NHL, and will likely be back there to start the 2019-20 season. It’s been an odd year to say the least for the top prospect, who struggled at first in the AHL and couldn’t find his rhythm at the World Junior tournament that he had previously dominated. Playing better in the second half, Zadina now returns to the Griffins with 31 points in 45 games and a chance to really help them down the stretch. Grand Rapids sits firmly in a playoff spot and if the sniper can find another level could be a dangerous opponent in their quest for a Calder Cup.
Dylan Larkin is expected to return to the lineup in Zadina’s place, two names that will surely be linked for the Red Wings moving forward. The elder Larkin is now the face of the franchise and the leader of the forward group, while Zadina represents the next wave of talent and could be a potential linemate down the road. His nine-game showcase was encouraging, and given the four high picks the Red Wings feature once again in this year’s draft, the future is starting to look quite bright in Detroit.