Red Wings forward Filip Zadina describes “pleasure” of first line promotion

Detroit Red Wings fans will get their chance to see forward Filip Zadina starting on the team's top line starting on Saturday night in Toronto against the Maple Leafs.

He skated on the number one line with Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha during Friday's practice at BELFOR Training Center before the team prepared to travel to Ontario.

Head coach Jeff Blashill explained the promotion, saying he wanted the perfect balance of four lines. While Zadina may not lighting the world on fire yet with his offense, Blashill felt a change was needed.

“It honestly has more to do with just the overall way all the four lines look. It's not about one player,” head coach Jeff Blashill explained. “It's about trying to find the best four lines in terms of different elements that we can have. Certainly I think Zadina's done a good job and I think of the games he's played, the last game was the lesser of the games. So it's not like he played an unbelievable game and I said I have to get him on the top line.”

“We were practicing together for the first time in practice,” Zadina said. “I think it has been pretty good. They're awesome players, very skilled players. It's a pleasure for me to play with them. I just want to do my best and play good hockey with them.”

“It is way more to do with kind of the makeup of all the other lines, specifically the (Valtteri) Filppula line,” Blashill continued. “I wanted a little more grit on that line so Bert (Tyler Bertuzzi) gives that line some grit, some net presence, just some hardness. I think the Bert-Larkin-Mantha line had a real struggle last game so we have an opportunity to mix it up a little bit and we're going to mix it up and we're going to see how it goes.”

With two goals and five assists in 11 games, the Red Wings decided to keep Zadina up with the big club for the remainder of the season, which kicks off the first of his three-year entry level contract. He'll also be getting the golden opportunity to land more ice time in addition to the 14:24 per game he's averaged thus far.

“It happens if I will deserve it during the games,” Zadina said. “I'll do my best to stay with the line and do the best I can.”

The Red Wings and Maple Leafs square off tomorrow just after 7:00 PM EST.

– – Quotes courtesy of Dana Wakiji of – – Link