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Red Wings hoping for Filip Zadina to take next step this season

Detroit Red Wings prospect Filip Zadina enters his second year of professional hockey after being drafted sixth overall by the team in the 2016 NHL Draft. In 59 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Zadina notched 16 goals and 35 points, as well as a goal and two assists in nine games with the big club.

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His best asset is his booming shot, but the Red Wings and head coach Jeff Blashill would also like to see him generate offense by crashing the net and generating opportunities.

“I think to get to the big numbers in goals, you got to get right around that net,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “You got to pick up what you’d term dirty goals. It’s something we’ve talked to him about and it’s something he’s continuing to work on.”

The road to being an established NHL player isn’t as easy for everyone, and Zadina knows that working his way up through the ranks is part of the journey.

“It’s part of the hockey life, right?” Zadina said. “No one has an easy way to the NHL. I think I was glad I could spend one year in the AHL. It opened my eyes to what I got to do better. Now I work the whole summer and I’m a better player now. I feel awesome on the ice.”

Despite not scoring during the four-game prospects tournament before training camp, general manager Steve Yzerman liked what he saw from Zadina, and likes the fact he’s willing to work in order to get better.

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“He can really shoot the puck, he’s got an instinct for getting open,” Yzerman said. “He’s only 19, was eligible to play junior last year. He did very well in the American Hockey League, it’s just adjusting to the pro game. He’ll continue to get physically stronger and gain experience. With that strength and experience he’ll get more accustomed to the speed of the pro game.”

“Not knowing him very well but talking with a lot of people on the staff that know him, he’s got a good attitude, he’s open-minded and wants to improve, and with a good attitude and open mind and work ethic, he will improve. I think he’s projecting in the right direction. I was really encouraged by the week he had.”

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