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Zadina looking to make the jump from the QMJHL to the NHL

Just-drafted forward wanted to skate before development camp started

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

DETROIT -- There was a buzz in the air at Little Caesars Arena Tuesday and it wasn't just because Harry Styles was in town to perform.

Instead it was because of Filip Zadina, the flashy forward that the Detroit Red Wings drafted this past Friday with the No. 6 pick in the draft.

Zadina and the other Wings prospects arrived in town after the NHL Entry Draft in Dallas and got to see Little Caesars Arena Monday night.

The Wings' front office members were already impressed by what they had seen from Zadina throughout the year but were even more impressed after they drafted him.

"Just in general from talking to him, being around him the last few days, those character traits are going to show, but he's just an extremely hard worker," said Shawn Horcoff, Detroit's director of player development. "He wanted to come and skate and work out yesterday, not realizing what the week is going to entail. He might have thought differently, if he knew how the practice was going to go today."

Zadina confirmed he did want to skate before development camp started.

"Yeah, that is true," Zadina said. "I wasn't on the ice for a while so I just wanted to be prepared for when I come here."

Now that Zadina has arrived in Detroit, he doesn't plan to fade into the background.

"He wants to make an impression," Horcoff said. "Obviously, he's disappointed with where he got drafted, which is impressive for us. He's come out, he's confident he can score, we're hoping he does, because that's what we're going to need."

Zadina was projected in many mock drafts to go as high as third overall to Montreal but the Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and Arizona Coyotes opted for Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Brady Tkachuk and Barrett Hayton, respectively.

But Zadina, Buffalo's Rasmus Dahlin and Carolina's Andrei Svechnikov are considered to be the most NHL-ready of the just-drafted players.

Plus, the Wings could definitely use what Zadina brings to the table - elite scoring ability.

So the youngster will be given every opportunity to make the team out of camp this coming fall.

"That's good to hear," Zadina said. "I got to do all my best stuff on the ice, I need to prove to them that I'm a good player and that I deserve it, to get a spot on the team. I got chance but I need to take it and I need to play my best hockey."

When Zadina was 15, he played against men in the Czech Republic, an experience that could help him as he tries to go right from junior hockey to the NHL.

"Two seasons ago, I played against men so I know what I have to expect from the men's hockey," Zadina said. "Like last season I went to national camp so I know what I have to expect from the men's league. I'll be prepared and hopefully I'll be battling for my spot.

"I'm going to have to (be ready to) face anything because it's going to be very hard for me but if I play my hockey and I'll be patient, work hard, it's going to be good."

The early going was pretty good even though Zadina was dealing with all new gear except for his skates.

"First two practices here I felt kind of weird because I didn't have my gear, so I had new ones and trying to get used to new pads and new sticks," he said. "It's going to be better and better and when we play the game on Saturday, it's going to be great game."

Zadina was blown away when he toured Little Caesars Arena and saw all the amenities that the Wings enjoy.

"It was like, wow. I've never seen before this rink so it's just unbelievable," Zadina said. "I got a tour from Paul (Boyer, equipment manager). He showed me all the things here. I don't know if I'm in the rink right now, because it looks like some hotel or something, so it's just unbelievable here."

Zadina hopes to wow the Detroit fans the same way he did in Halifax, where he had 44 goals and 38 assists in 57 games for the Mooseheads.

"I just want to show them my hockey," Zadina said. "I don't want to change my hockey. I know how to play hockey. I just want to continue my hockey the way I played the last seasons. Now I just want to be better."

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