With only 17 days left until the first round of the NHL Draft in New Jersey, The PensNation will be breaking down a prospect each day until June 30th. Today, we will take a closer look at defenseman Nikita Zadorov.
Defenseman Nikita Zadorov, London (OHL), 18 years old
Height: 6’4″, Weight: 200 pounds, Shoots: Left
NHL Central Scouting: 22nd among North American skaters
TSN: 11th among all players
2012-13 Stats: 63 games played, 6 goals, 19 assists, 25 points, +33, 54 penalty minutes
THE SCOOP: The London Knights of the OHL have had a large number of their defensemen eventually get drafted by NHL teams. The Pittsburgh Penguins are pretty familiar with them, as the franchise has already drafted Olli Maatta and Scott Harrington. Another defensive prospect from London will be up for grabs in 2013 named Nikita Zadorov. At 6’4″, Zadorov is a big defenseman who is known for his defensive skills. He is tough to get by as he is very physical and is strong in front of the net and along the boards. While some defensemen of Zadorov’s size struggle with skating, he does not have trouble at all. In fact, his skating is spectacular for his size, which makes it tough for opposing players to beat him in a one-on-one battle. He is willing to block shots and do whatever it takes to win. Some people believe that Zadorov commits to hits too much sometimes and is left out of position. In addition, he needs to be more careful with the puck as he will look to decrease the number of giveaways he had this past season. All of these flaws in Zadorov’s game are very correctable and will probably fade away once he gets used to the professional game. Zadorov is not terrible in any area. He just needs to polish up his game in the aspects mentioned above. The Hockey News talked to a couple of scouts about Zadorov and they had the following to say about him: “If a team an enormous project in terms of size and development, Zadorov is it. The team drafting him will have to wait a couple years to see how good he can be in the NHL. Even if he didn’t develop one bit the next three years, he’s still going to be a solid NHLer. If he does develop, he’s going to be an absolute stud. Zadorov skates well for his size and though his transition game and offense improved with London as the year went on, what tantalizes most scouts is his frame. He’s a mammoth of a kid. He’s big, he’s strong and he’s raw.” Some teams that may have interest in him would be the Washington Capitals, Vancouver Canucks, and Phoenix Coyotes. While it may take a few years for Zadorov to develop, he could turn out to be a great defensive defenseman in the NHL.
Previously Seen in “20 Prospects in 20 Days”:
Follow me on Twitter: @PensNation_Andy