Filip Zadina Has Elite Dual-Threat Potential

It’s what seperates the great from the good, and the drivers from the driven.

In hockey, there are two main ways to individually generate offence: shooting or passing. Most players generally rely on one of the two to create oppurtunities, and can be seperated into two categories accordingly: players that typically rely on shooting are categorized as goal scorers, while the athletes with a pass first mentality are grouped as playmakers. But not everyone can be easily divided. The best players are harder to sort. The Connor McDavid’s and the Sidney Crosby’s, can’t be put into just one section, because they excel at both. These players, commonly referred to as dual-threats, are the elite, the ones that can drive a top scoring line, and carry the complimentary player’s that do fit into those two categories.

Filip Zadina, ranked #3 for the 2018 NHL Draft, projects to be one of those sniper-playmaker combos.

Zadina is a great skater, and his hockey IQ is sky high, but his biggest goal scoring asset is his shot. He can snipe, both from a stationary position and on the rush. Zadina has 35 goals in 42 games this season, good for 0.83 goals per game. He generates plenty of shots from the shot, as evident from this shot map from Prospect-Stats, where all statistics and shot maps used in this post are from (as of Feb 11).

*Green squares are goals, orange squares are shots

The shots are mostly sprinkled around the slot area, meaning that Zadina puts himself in good spots to score. The slot is the most dangerous place on the ice. Shots from that area, referred to as “high danger shots,” go in just over 20% of the time, while medium (~9%) and low (~3%) danger shots go in far less often. This means that players that generate a lot of high danger shots should score more goals, and in most cases, they do.

Top 5, NHL 5v5 Goals-Sh/GP

  1. Nikita Kucherov-3.45
  2. Auston Matthews-3.06
  3. William Karlsson-2.16
  4. Alex Ovechkin-4.13
  5. Anders Lee-2.46

The more established three goal scorers (Kucherov, Matthews and Ovechkin), are all over 3 shots per game, while Karlsson and Lee, who are new to the top 5, are in the 2-3 range. This is a sign that they won’t become mainstays as top goal scorers. It’s more likely that they are just getting lucky, and a lot of their shots are going in right now. Getting plenty of shots is key to scoring plenty of goals, so players that don’t get a lot of shots are usually just riding luck and a hot streak. We’ll go with the established scorers, and say that the benchmark for a consistent scorer is 3 shots per game.

So far in the QMJHL this season, Zadina has 4.3, well over the benchmark. Obviously, it’s easier to get shots in the QMJHL than it is in the NHL, but even if he loses a shot a game somewhere during the transition, he’ll still be on par with the NHL’s top goal scorers in shots per game.

He’ll be on par with them in goals scored as well. The combination of speed, skill and smarts that he brings will be too good for him not to score 30+ goals a season.

Nikita Kucherov played his draft plus one season in the QMJHL, the same league that Filip Zadina is suiting up in in his draft year. A year older than Zadina, Kucherov scored 0.88 goals per game. Zadina has put up 0.8 so far this season, very similar, at a younger age. Zadina’s goal scoring statistics are on track with Kucherov, an elite goal scorer.

Goal scoring is only one part of a dual threat player. The other is playmaking, something that Zadina is nearly as good at as he is at scoring.

There are 3 key components of an elite NHL playmaker: vision, passing skill and the ability to open up passing lanes.

Vision is a player’s ability to find open teammates. Players with elite vision are able to find open linemates that don’t appear to be in their sightline. Zadina has that ability. He makes passes that leaves scouts wondering “How’d he see him?”

His overall passing ability is very good. He delivers crisp, tape to tape passes, and has a good understanding of the saucer pass. He knows how and when to elevate the puck, and he uses it to make passes when the defender has good stick positioning.

The future Czech star uses his patience and poise to wait for passing lanes to open up, and if they don’t, he does it himself, changing speeds, making sharp turns, and throwing in the occasional head fake to open up a cross ice pass.

He checks all the boxes of an elite playmaker, and barring a major developmental issue, he will be.

Filip Zadina has all the makings of a dual threat star, with elite goal scoring and playmaking ability. The Czech winger will be a star, and will have a huge impact on the NHL, the fortunes of the team that drafts him, and the Czech international hockey program. His combination of scoring and playmaking skill is rare, and the lucky team that drafts him will be thrilled to have that combo on their roster.

3 thoughts on “Filip Zadina Has Elite Dual-Threat Potential

  1. This is a good article but what Quebec team does Zadina play for? I live in Eastern Europe now so I don’t follow junior hockey so closely. I haven’t lived in Canada since 2014. (All true.) Caught you. I’ll give you some tips about article/report writing. I took Introductory Reporting at Ryerson back in the 1980s. One of things I got taught is know your audience/readership. This type of article is for the experts, those who follow junior hockey in Canada intensely. This is the type of article you would see in a kind of magazine titled “Junior Hockey Digest”. Not everybody is an expert. Certainly not me on junior hockey.

    If you read my articles on the same subject both on this blog and on Bleacher, you’ll see me repeating the same information over and over again. Boring. Why? Because what you are taught in basic reporting is that you cannot assume that your reader is an avid follower, but is someone who has never read any of your articles before and therefore knows nothing.

    When I am writing a series of articles about the same topic, I write with what would be called an “update style”. You see this most vividly in tv and radio reporting. Something shocking will happen and they’ll cut to a reporter on the spot who will tell you what he knows. Then they’ll switch back to the reporters in the studio who will talk for 10-20 minutes and then return to the reporter on the spot. He’ll repeat the exact same things he told you 20 minutes ago (for the new viewers) and then add the all the new details (for the experts).

    So when I am writing my next article on the same subject, I’ll repeat at lot of what I said in my previous article (for my new readers) and then add something new (for the experts who read my previous articles). The new information might be about a breaking event that just happened and changes everything. Or it might be about aspects that I didn’t or couldn’t cover in my previous articles that just couldn’t be accommodated or were inappropriate in one enormous article.

    The only time I’ll write about fresh information on the same subject and keep my repeated information to a minimum is if I am writing a multi-part article. Then I assume that my reader has read the first part of the article and wants to keep reading to get more detailed, concluding information that could not be provided in one enormous article. At the end of my first article I’ll probably indicate that there is more to come; the articles will be released back-to-back with no intervening articles; and I’ll probably title them part 1 and part 2. When I joined Bleacher one of the first things I wrote was a 5 part series of articles about NHL Expansion in Canada. On this blog I wrote a 2 part article about the unnecessary retirement of Paschal Dupuis and another 2 part article on the meaning of the conclusion of the World Cup of Hockey.

    So when you write articles for this blog, keep in mind who your readers might be. All your friends who repeatedly read your articles if you inform them will be your experts who will want new updated information. But you also might attract new readers who know nothing and who have to be informed of the basics.

    So if you write articles about those topics I suggested which I hope you will do, you’ll be starting off by repeating many of the basic things I suggested in my original article. But then you’ll be adding much more detailed information that I could never hope to match unless I did extensive time doing research. Your articles will be much better than anything I could hope to write unless I do a lot of intense research. Perhaps if the topics have a lot of information to cover, you’ll find it better to write them as multi-part articles like I’ve suggested above. But always keep in mind who you are writing for.

    P.S. I’ve added a lot of pictures to the media section of this blog. This is the first article where I’ve seen you use media. Feel free to use any of the pictures I’ve added to the media section, if you want to splash things up. Remember, you can add a main picture at the top of your articles like I do.

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