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After terminating his contract with the Red Wings, Filip Zadina is an interesting reclamation project

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
9 months ago
There’s a new name on the unrestricted free agent market.
According to Frank Seravalli, the Detroit Red Wings placed winger Filip Zadina on unconditional waivers for the purpose of mutual contract termination on Thursday.
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Zadina gained notoriety as a top prospect during the 2017-18 season. He scored 44 goals and 82 points playing for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL and dominated the World Juniors with seven goals and eight points over seven games for the Czech Republic.
He wound up getting selected by the Red Wings with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2018 draft, the last one that Ken Holland led for Detroit before he was replaced by Steve Yzerman as the team’s general manager.
Zadina came overseas for the 2018-19 season and fared well in the AHL for a 19-year-old. He scored 16 goals and 35 points over 59 games for the Grand Rapid Griffins and scored one goal and three points over a nine-game cup of coffee with the Red Wings.

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Despite the promising start, Zadina hasn’t been able to find his groove at the NHL level. The 2021-22 season was Zadina’s first full season with the Red Wings and he scored 10 goals and 24 points over 74 games. His 2022-23 season was marred by injury and Zadina put up only seven points in 30 games.
Yzerman said earlier this week that the 23-year-old had requested a trade ahead of the draft. Nothing materialized, so the two sides agreed to terminate his contract so he could become a free agent and look for an opportunity elsewhere.
“Unfortunately for Filip last year, he missed a lot of time due to injury,” Yzerman said earlier this week. “I thought in the 30-ish games he played, I saw growth in his game. Prior to the Draft, through his agent, he had asked if he could potentially go somewhere else and look for a better opportunity and fresh start. So, I’ve tried to do that and tried to find a place for him to play, someone interested in Filip who would maybe give him that opportunity. I’ve not been able to do that, so we put him on waivers today to try and give him an opportunity to go to an organization to play more, we’ll see what happens.
Zadina’s entry-level contract came to an end last summer and he re-signed with the Red Wings on a three-year contract worth $1.825 million annually. His salary was set to be $1.83 million for the 2023-24 season and $2.73 million for the 2024-25 season, so this is quite the risk for Zadina.
It makes sense that nobody was willing to take on Zadina with two years left on his deal and a cap hit nearing $2 million given how tight things are for so many teams around the league. But bringing him in as a reclamation project on an inexpensive one-year, show-me deal would be a worthwhile gamble for any team seeking a depth scorer.
Ken Holland will have to go searching in the bargain bin for players who can contribute with cheap salaries as the Oilers are just under $6 million shy of the salary cap ceiling with restricted free agents Evan Bouchard and Ryan McLeod still in need of new contracts.
Zadina could probably earn more salary on a one-year deal on a middling or rebuilding club elsewhere, but the possibility of playing on the wing of Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl should be an attractive possibility for a young player looking to rebuild his value around the league.

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