Ramblings: Zadina’s Breakout Case; Backup Goalie Options & More (Apr 20)

Alexander MacLean

2022-04-20

Entering last night's game there were exactly three players on the Red Wings that aren't listed as cold right now in the FrozenTools system. Those three are Tyler Bertuzzi, Moritz Seider, and Filip Zadina. The first two aren't surprising, but the fact that Zadina is keeping his head above water while the rest of the team is drowning is a good sign for his future production.

Zadina is one of 20 names that Rick Roos has for you in his column today as potential breakout candidates. The former sixth overall pick has taken a little longer to make an impact than many expected, but that's what happens with a lot of players. We remember the ones that made an immediate impact, but the ones that take a few extra years before carving out solid NHL careers get forgotten when we look back on these things.

He's not quite at the 200-game threshold yet, currently sitting 40-games shy, so we don't need to be seeing an uptick yet. In fact, that kind of makes him an ideal target as a buy-low about 20 games into the season. There is help coming in Detroit, with the current NHL core growing, a healthy season from Dylan Larkin & Jakub Vrana, and some top-tier prospects like Simon Edvinsson, Jonatan Berggren, and Theodore Neiderbach all getting close. As the team gets better and Zadina's offensive zone time climbs from under 50%, to the close to 60% that he should be seeing, there will be a lot more offensive chances for the young forward. There's room to grow with his ice time and his underlying percentages too, but the IPP is still consistently high enough to indicate that he's more so a driver than a passenger.

Sticking with the Wings, it's interesting to see Jake Walman playing top-four minutes. He is providing some solid value in the shots (over two per game with the Wings) and blocks (just under two per game) categories, and it would be great to see him with a look on the power play. He was once a highly regarded prospect with a relatively high offensive ceiling, but that just hasn't clicked yet.

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The Leafs trotted out some interesting lines with Auston Matthews out of the lineup: