The Detroit Red Wings played their last game, which ended up being their season finale, back on March 10. Rookie forward Filip Zadina last suited up for the team on February 1. Even if the NHL’s makeshift schedule for the 2020 postseason and off-season play out exactly according to plan, neither the Red Wings nor Zadina are likely to play another competitive game until December. As a result, it should come as no surprise that there are whispers that Zadina could begin the season elsewhere this fall given the delayed starts of the NHL and AHL. The possible destination for the top prospect should not shock anyone either.
HC Ocelari Trinec of the Czech Extraliga all but confirmed that talks are ongoing with Zadina and Detroit earlier today, responding to a tweet that alleged that both Zadina and Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman were interested in getting the young forward started early in his native Czech Republic. The club stated that they too are “currently discussing the arrival” of Zadina (translation). The fit makes plenty of sense; Ocelari is a top team in the Extraliga and calls Zadina’s own father, Marek Zadina, an assistant coach. Zadina would have the comforts of home and a familiar face on the bench while also competing on a strong roster in a talented league alongside the likes of fellow prospects Milos Roman and Nick Malik.
While a number of young players, particularly those on the seven non-playoff teams, may discuss starting their seasons early overseas, Zadina could use it more than most. The 2018 No. 6 overall pick has yet to break out in the pros as expected and a jump-start against weaker competition in the Czech Republic could be the kickstart needed. Additionally, Zadina was limited to just 49 games overall this season between Detroit and the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins and could simply use some more time on the ice. Getting his legs under him and up to speed early could give Zadina an advantage entering the 2020-21 season that might lead to his much-anticipated emergence as a top option for the Red Wings.