Last season, Detroit Red Wings prospect Filip Zadina scored seven goals in seven games during the World Junior Championship and helped his native Czech Republic to a medal.
Unfortunately for the Czechs and Zadina, it didn’t go quite as well this year.
Zadina failed to score in five games (one assist) as the Czech Republic was unable to reach the medal round. Now, Zadina is re-joining the Grand Rapids Griffins Tuesday for practice.
“He had a tough tournament,” said head coach Jeff Blashill ahead of Detroit’s game against the Capitals on Sunday afternoon. “Sometimes that’s based on production. That happens. Sometimes that’s the way it goes.
“It didn’t go his way. Anytime you judge a small sample size, it’s dangerous. It wasn’t a great sample size, but the year before it was a great sample size.”
So far with the Griffins this season, Zadina has put up 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 27 games. It was a bit of a learning curve adjusting to the North American style of play, but he’s since picked things up. For Blashill and the Red Wings, they’re envisioning Zadina to be a big part of their future, and want him to continue to develop his game.
“It wouldn’t have built the confidence we had hoped,” said Blashill of the WJC. “So what do you do? Ben Simon (Grand Rapids head coach), I know, has already sat down and talked with him, and said, ‘This is life, man.’ What are you going to do? Are you going to work and keep getting better, getting better at the small details?
“That tournament is over. Let’s go to work today. I hear it from Ben Simon, and Shawn Horcoff (the Wings’ player development director) and Ken Holland (Wings’ general manager), about how hard this kid works, and if he works and he wants it, and he’s mentally tough, he’ll be fine, and in the end, he could be an even better player.”