The Detroit Red Wings fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4 on Thursday night. After storming out to a 3-0 lead, the Red Wings struggled to hold the lead. The Tampa Bay Lightning offense was too strong, with forward Nikita Kucherov scoring a power-play goal, four seconds into the man advantage.
However, more importantly, Filip Zadina played his final game for the Detroit Red Wings this season. And, in that time, he did nothing to show that he does not belong in the NHL.
Zadina scored one goal and tallied two assists in nine games with the Detroit Red Wings. The 19-year-old seemed to handle himself very well during his nine-game audition with the Red Wings. He never seemed like he was out of place or that the game was too fast for the Czech forward.
At 19-years-old, according to NHL entry-level contract rules, Zadina can become a restricted free agent after his contract expires in three years. If he had played one more game for the Detroit Red Wings this season, Zadina would have had to have been protected during the expansion draft for the Seattle franchise that has yet to be named.
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The Czech will go back to the Grand Rapids Griffins to play out the rest of their season. Zadina has recorded 15 goals and 31 points during 45 games for the Griffins. His confidence should grow given his success during the nine-game audition with the Red Wings.
Jeff Balshill, Detroit Red Wings head coach, told the media that Zadina “has gotten better game by game” and that “it’s a real positive step in the right direction, and certainly good for the organization.”
Blashill added that Zadina will have every chance to compete for a permanent roster spot next season. This is where the eye of the franchise is looking as the Red Wings are in the midst of a streak that has seen them win just eight of their last 10.