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Zadina Gamble to Leave Red Wings Didn’t Pay Off

UFA Zadina Waits For Third Chance



Filip Zadina, Detroit Red Wings

One of the stories of Day Two of NHL free agency is whether a team is ready to give Filip Zadina a third chance at a first impression.

In 2018, the Detroit Red Wings made the Czech standout the sixth pick in the NHL draft, believing he had the ability to develop into a 40-goal scorer. That level of development never happened in Detroit and last summer he asked to be released from his guaranteed contract to get a fresh start.

Zadina walked away from $4.65 million for the second chance he received from the San Jose Sharks. They gave him a one-year deal worth $1.1 million.  He had walked away from the second and third years of a Detroit contract that would have paid him $1.83 million and then $2.73 million.

The thinking was he would get more playing time with a team whose fan base wouldn’t view him as a failed high draft pick.

Needs Third Chance

But a year later he sits waiting for a call from any other team willing to give him a chance.

Zadina did produce a career-best 12 goals last season to give him 41 goals in 262 career NHL games. The Sharks could have retained his rights, but chose not to give him a qualifying offer. That makes him an unrestricted free agent.

Zadina did receive an opportunity to play among the top six forwards early in the season. However, by the time the end of the season he was being used the same way the Red Wings used him.  His average time on ice for San Jose was 13:20. That’s just 14 seconds more than his average in his final season with the Red Wings.

Zadina finished with 23 points for San Jose, but was minus-44. There are NHL teams looking for a depth forward.

However, if he gets a call from a team, he likely will be looking at a minimum contract. His financial gamble to leave the Red Wings has not paid off.