Nikita Zadorov – The Next Ones: NHL 2013 Draft Prospect Profile

The London Knights have churned out some great defenders who are playing in the NHL.  Names like Dan Girardi, Michael Del Zotto, Kyle Quincey, Dennis Wideman, Jarred Tinordi, and Marc Methot come to mind.  Of late, the OHL team has developed some talented young defensemen like Olli Määttä, Scott Harrington, and now Nikita Zadorov.

Nikita Zadorov THW Close-Up:

Date of birth: 4/16/1995

Place of birth: Moscow, Russia

Ht: 6’5″     Wt: 229 lbs

Shoots: Left

Position: D

NHL Draft Eligibility: 2013

Twitter: @zadorov61

THW The Next Ones Rankings (January 2013): 42

Nikita Zadorov [David Chan]

Nikita Zadorov [David Chan]

Other Rankings:

THW Warm Room Rankings (April): 11

ISS (May): 8

Future Considerations: 11

Craig Button: 11

Consensus aggregate of several services (NHL Numbers): 11

CS Final Rankings for North American skaters: 22

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[NHL 2013 Draft Guide – The Next Ones Draft Headquarters: Your quintessential draft resource]

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The London Knights have churned out some great defenders who are playing in the NHL.  Names like Dan Girardi, Michael Del Zotto, Kyle Quincey, Dennis Wideman, Jarred Tinordi, and Marc Methot come to mind.  Of late, the OHL team has developed some talented young defensemen like Olli Määttä, Scott Harrington, and now Nikita Zadorov.

After playing one year in Russia’s junior league (the MHL), Zadorov decided to go overseas and develop his game in North America.  A decision that could have backfired, instead turned into a great positive.  His game has benefited leaps and bounds since he first played for the Knights.

His game as a shutdown defenseman is very simple: stop the man with the puck.  He has tremendous defensive awareness and can effectively separate a player from the play.  For such a giant player, his skating is very fluid, as would be expected from many Russian players.  He has a cannon from the point and isn’t afraid to chip in offensively.

Zadorov’s positioning tends to be his greatest advantage.  He seems to know when and where to be to break up a play or move the puck out of the zone.  His play was so impressive that he was named to the CHL Top Prospects Game a few months ago.  He didn’t have any points in the game, but he was a +2.

There are many NHL teams with a need at the defense position, so with Zadorov’s height, skill, and defensive play, he will be called early to a team that will be excited to get him in the lineup.

Where Will He End Up In June:

With so many teams pining for a defensive stalwart, Zadorov could easily go in the top 10, even with the so-called “Russian Factor”.  He may slip to the Top 15, but won’t fall much further than that.

Scout’s Honor:

“An absolute physical specimen; Zadorov is 6’6, weighs 229 lbs and he’s eager to use it. Cleans players out along the walls and in open ice without really exerting himself, he just… skates through them. As for his skating, he moves really well for a man his size. His foot speed isn’t elite, but he’s coordinated, fluid and well balanced. I’ve yet to see him get beat wide, and he’s quick enough to stay with his man. As you would expect he has tremendous reach as well, which allows him to cover even more ground, and he knows how to get his stick in passing lanes. He’s tough to play against and has been a smothering defensive presence in the games I’ve watched.”

Bill Ladd – NHL Mock Draft

“The potential that some evaluators see in Zadorov has them projecting the next big physical two-way NHL defender. He shows a nice combination of mobility, strength and puck skills. He skates very well for a player of his size and shows strong footwork, balance and mobility. He makes strong plays with the puck, and reads the play well. Zadorov’s first pass is strong and he does not try to force things that are just not there. His point shot is very hard and although his windup is a little on the long side, still should be considered a weapon. His strength is his physical game as he is willing to unload a devastating hit, mercilessly eliminate opponents along the boards or drop the gloves and teach an opponent a lesson about manners towards his teammates or himself.”

Aaron Vickers – Future Considerations

“Zadorov is best known for his defensive skills.  A huge defenceman, he dishes out big hits, and opposing forwards really need to keep their heads up if coming down his end of the ice.  He is mean along the boards and in front of the net.  His skating and mobility is top notch, making him really hard to get by one on one…Offensively, Zadorov has improved by leaps and bounds over the course of the season.  Early in the year he was strictly a stay at home type, but is now using his good mobility to allow himself to join the rush and then recover quickly.  In the offensive end he has a very hard and heavy slapshot, and can let it fly from the point.”

Ben Kerr – Last Word On Sports

Statistics:

Bio/Interview(s)/Links:

Overview of Zadorov from the London Free Press

Profile on NHL.com

International Tournaments:

Zadorov played in the World U17 Hockey Challenge and the World U18 Junior Championships.  In 11 games he had 2 goals and 3 assists.

ETA:

2-3 years

Risk/Reward Analysis:

Risk: 2/5   Reward 4.5/5

NHL Potential:

Top 4 shutdown defenseman with the capability to add some points

Strengths:

Physical play

Board play

Slap shot

Defensive awareness/IQ

Simplistic play

Positioning

Flaws/Aspects He Needs to Work On:

Poise with the puck

Dealing with pressure

Stickhandling

Wrist shot

Fantasy Hockey Potential:

Offensive: 4/10    Defensive: 9/10

NHL Player Comparison:

– Nikita Zadorov is a less offensive version of Dion Phaneuf or Dustin Byfuglien.  He plays the same physical game as those two but hasn’t rounded out the offensive skills that they possess.

– Hall of Fame comparison: Scott Stevens

Video(s):

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THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph

Follow Shawn Reznik on Twitter: @ShawnTHW

 

Shawn Reznik

Shawn Reznik

Shawn started at The Hockey Writers in 2011 covering junior hockey/NCAA/European leagues for the site. In 2013, he became the Lead Writer for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Shawn Reznik
Last night Tyrell Goulbourne ( @Tgillz12 ) scored yet another goal in a 6-3 win. Having a nice offensive year. 28GP/14G/9A/24P #Flyers - 19 mins ago
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