Nikita Zadorov is one of the top defensemen in the 2013 NHL Draft class and is one of the largest available players. Seriously, he's a beast.
At 6-foot-5 and 230 lbs., Zadorov is one of the biggest and strongest defensemen available in this year’s draft and isn’t afraid to take advantage of it. He doesn’t back down from a fight when challenged and forwards shy away from him when he goes for a check, allowing him to play a simple-yet-effective defensive game that is conducive to big minutes.
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He was the kind of player London Knights coach Dale Hunter loved to have on his blue line: solid, steady and with a bit of a mean streak to his game.
His skating ability and agility are impressive because he is such a big guy. Among this year's defense prospects in the NHL Draft, Zadorov has a clear advantage because his size gives him dominant potential - a distinct edge above most defensemen. His confidence is evident whether he’s skating the puck up the ice or punishing players on the boards. Zadorov is used to playing long minutes and long shifts—something that teams would love to take advantage of once he’s drafted.
Here’s what Future Considerations had to say about Zadorov:
“His strength is his physical game as he is willing to unload a devastating hit, mercilessly eliminate opponents along the boards or drop the gloves and teach an opponent a lesson about manners towards his teammates or himself.”
Some scouts believe Zadorov plays a game very similar to Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin, which is to say he's a reliable, two-way blue liner who can contribute in all situations and grow with the organization.
More on Zadorov, courtesy of Hockey's Future:
“Zadorov is the not-so-gentle giant on the blue line. He’s a personable kid off the ice, but certainly one that you wouldn’t want to mess with on it. He should fit very nicely on a top pairing as the defensively responsible crease-clearer for whom so many teams are looking.”
Season GP G A Pts +/- PIM
2012-13 63 6 19 25 33 54