Detroit – The Red Wings signed Filip Zadina whom they selected in the first round, sixth overall, in the 2018 draft, to a three-year entry-level contract, they announced Saturday.
Zadina, 18, led all rookies in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) last season with 44 goals, 38 assists and 82 points in 57 games.
He was seventh overall in scoring, in the league.
His selection in the draft came later than the Red Wings and others expected.
The Wings passed on several touted defensemen, a greater need in their NHL lineup than forwards, to pick Zadina.
The Red Wings say he has a chance to make the lineup, in October.
According to GM Ken Holland, the NHL will determine where Zadina plays, if not in Detroit.
The Red Wings assert Zadina can play in Grand Rapids, because he was on loan from his former team in the Czech Republic, last season.
Zadina’s QMJHL team Halifax, asserts Zadina is officially a player in the Canadian Hockey League, an umbrella organization including the QMJHL. And, an agreement between the CHL and NHL requires returning major junior players to the league when not playing in the NHL.
Holland said both sides have submitted documents to the NHL, which will determine Zadina’s eligibility, probably over the next few weeks.
Regardless, the issue will be settled long before training camp.
Zadina’s promise is great.
His shot is hard, brisk and accurate. He skates well, and tends to stay involved in the play all around the ice.
He displayed ample talent in the Red Wings annual development camp, last week, and scored in overtime of the Howe-Lindsay scrimmage.
In the QMJHL playoffs last season, he scored five goals and assisted on seven for 12 points in nine games.
The previous year, he played for Pardubice HC in the Czech Extraliga, the top professional league in the Czech Republic. Zadina scored a goal and assisted on one in 27 games.
Pardubice is Zadina’s hometown. He played youth hockey in the club, also.
In two World U18 Championships, in 2016 and 2017, Zadina scored seven goals and assisted on four for 11 points in a total of 10 games.
Holland said in April that the Red Wings intend to put two or three new, young players on the roster this season.
Zadina is likely to compete with Michael Rasmussen, 19, the Wings’ first-round selection in 2017, ninth pick overall, for a slot among the forwards.