Former Detroit Red Wings first round draft pick Filip Zadina’s contract was terminated by the team on Friday. It was a rare move allowable under the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NHLPA because both sides agreed to it.
Detroit general manager Steve Yzerman said earlier in the week that Zadina had requested a trade, looking to find a new start with a different club. When no trade materialized, he was waived, allowing any team to claim him – and his current contract. After there were no takers, Zadina agreed to terminate his contract, hoping that a smaller salary might help him latch on with another team. He was waived again and, after clearing for the second time in less than a week, his contract was terminated.
When Zadina was on waivers the first time, Yzerman had stated that, should Zadina clear, he would continue his career with the Red Wings. That, obviously, did not happen.
I was all about drafting Zadina when he fell to the Red Wings in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. At the time, I said that it was difficult because all of the conjecture leading up to the draft had been about the big defensemen – a need for the Red Wings – but that a pure scorer like Zadina was worth it.
Unfortunately, Zadina’s hasn’t translated to the NHL level. The sting is worsened by the fact that Quinn Hughes was picked one spot after Zadina and blossomed into a strong defender.
This isn’t a case of a botched pick, as much as I would like to blame former Red Wings GM Ken Holland for that. A lot of people thought this was a smart move at the time. It just didn’t work out.