Detroit — In a perfect world, the Red Wings would’ve preferred to let prospect Filip Zadina ride his hot streak in Grand Rapids for a while longer. But these are far from perfect times.
So, when Wings’ leading goal scorer Anthony Mantha went down with a lower-body injury early in the loss at New Jersey Saturday, they were forced to make an emergency call for Zadina.
“It’s very day to day,” coach Jeff Blashill said of Zadina’s promotion before the game Sunday. “This is something we were pressed into due to a number of injuries. I know if we all had our druthers, we’d give him longer (at Grand Rapids).
“This is just one moment in time (for Zadina), not the moment.”
Mantha, who had produced 23 points in 24 games, played only three shifts Saturday. Blashill didn’t have any new information on the injury Sunday, except to say he was still being evaluated by team medical personnel and may know more after the game.
The Wings, the lowest-scoring team in the NHL, were hoping Zadina, the sixth overall pick in 2018 who will turn 20 years old Wednesday, could provide a spark. He’s riding a six-game point streak and has produced seven goals and six assists in 19 games at Grand Rapids.
“We need to temper any expectations in the sense that he’s played two games in a row and this will be his third in three nights and he didn’t get here from Milwaukee until 4 in the morning,” Blashill said. “I’ve lived that life and I know it’s not easy. It’s a not an easy thing to ask of him.
“But that said, we need a forward and we want somebody with high-end skill. That’s why he was drafted sixth overall. We hope he can come in and have a good game, as much as he can.”
Zadina played on a line with Darren Helm and Valtteri Filppula and set up both with scoring chances in the first period. But ended up taking just one shot himself in 15 minutes.
"I think I felt good." Zadina said, of playing for the third straight night in three different cities. "It wasn’t that bad, actually. I thought it was going to be worse but I felt OK."
Blashill said Zadina "didn't look out of place," but reiterated that he was here more as a fill-in.
“This doesn’t mean anything specific for the future,” Blashill said. “He has played much better of late and he’s produced, which is part of it but not the only part. Talking to the (Grand Rapids) coaching staff, they’ve been happy with his play. Talking to (general manager) Steve Yzerman, he’s been happy with his overall play.
“But it’s not something where he’s been so good we had to get him in the NHL. It’s more that we’re dealing with injuries and he was pressed into service. But he has a great opportunity to grind out a great game here.”
Zadina made his NHL debut last year, playing in nine games, scoring a goal with two assists.
"I was glad for those nine games," he said. "It showed me what this NHL hockey is all about. I think it helped me a lot and I was so appreciative that I could be here last year with those guys.
"Now I’m here, so I just want to do my best and stay as long as I can."
The Wings were also without forward Adam Erne (hand) Sunday and defenseman Mike Green was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Tuesday.