- DOB: 11/27/1999
- Team: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
- Left Wing | Shoots: L | 6’1”, 190 pounds
- 2017-18 Stats: 57 GP - 44G, 38A, 82 points, 36 PIM
Zadina burst onto the radar of many hockey fans during the 2018 World Junior Championships in Buffalo when he teamed up with current Carolina prospect Martin Necas on the way to a surprising fourth place finish at the event. It was Zadina, not Necas, who was named to the tournament with fellow first rounders Cale Makar, Casey Mittelstadt, Kieffer Bellows and soon to be number-one overall selection Rasmus Dahlin. At the time, many Canes were longing for a way to get both Zadina and Necas on the ice at the same time, watching the magic that the two seemed to produce. Never did fans expect to have the option of passing on the Czech youngster for what appears to be an even better option in Andrei Svechnikov.
Statistically, Zadina’s first year in North America was an overwhelming success. After making the jump from the Czech League to the QMJHL, the winger finished seventh in QMJHL scoring with 82 points and third in goals (44). Even more impressively, only eight of his 44 goals and 20 of his points were piled up on the power play, proving that his stats weren’t padded by man advantage situations unlike many of his peers. As he continues to grow, he will become more of a focal point in his team’s power play, which will lead to a higher percentage of both power-play goals and power play-points. That said, having that kind of even-strength success as an 18-year-old is notable.
Zadina should be the second forward off the board in Dallas and could be the draft’s best pure goal scorer.
When watching Zadina, it’s his offensive game, and more specifically his goal scoring, that jumps off the page. He has a great shot with the ability to find pockets of ice to release it. No matter the shot type, Zadina has it in the arsenal and knows that he is at his most effective when using it, a mindset that not all 18-year-olds have. His shot-per-game rate last year led all rookies in the QMJHL last season at over four shots per game, and his shooting percentage was nearly 19%.
He isn’t going to wow you with straight-line speed, but his balance and strength on the puck is elite. For as much as he has the puck and as many defenders as he draws, Zadina rarely makes bad decisions leading to turnovers. He knows that by drawing defenders he can find his line mates in high danger situations. He has terrific hands and has the ability to create in tight spaces low in the offensive zone, whether that be finding a teammate or moving to an area of the ice where he can release his shot.
Zadina is a willing defender, and could be an asset when shorthanded as he continues to move on with his career due to his skill and ability to be a nightmare on the puck.
It’s looking more and more likely that Svechnikov will hear his name called second overall by the Hurricanes later this month, but whoever ultimately gets their hands on Zadina will certainly be thrilled with the consolation prize. That team may have to wait a little longer for a rookie impact, but the Czech forward will be worth the wait.