Today it was announced that the Colorado Avalanche have sent down top end defensive prospect Nikita Zadorov to the San Antonio Rampage.
While this is no shock to me personally, a lot of the Avalanche fan base have taken this move as a sure sign of the apocalypse. I guess this is what that sign looks like:
TRANSACTION: Nikita Zadorov has been reassigned to @sarampage.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) November 7, 2015
Terrifying isn’t it? Or does it make PERFECT sense? I’ll let you decide.
Patience the Name of the Game
When it comes to defenders in the NHL, you simply cannot expect a 20-year-old to dominate, no matter how highly touted he may be. However, that is exactly what Avalanche fans have done since his arrival.
Zadorov was great in training camp and maybe that boosted the Colorado fans expectations of the young Russian. Were they expecting Zadorov to be in his prime as a rookie? He needs some experience along with confidence, and what better way to gain confidence than by perhaps dominating the AHL game with the Rampage?
Not every Avalanche prospect will be a Matt Duchene, Gabe Landeskog, or Nathan MacKinnon. There shouldn’t be any rush at all when it comes to Zadorov. Just because the Buffalo Sabres played him too early, does not mean the Avalanche have to make the same mistake.
Remember that prospect by the name of Tyson Barrie? He wasn’t rushed and look at him now, one of the very best offensive defenseman in the entire NHL.
Why Is This Good?
As an example, against the Arizona Coyotes, Zadorov was directly responsible for two of their three goals. He has made some poor mistakes, but what 20-year-old defenseman hasn’t?
So sending the Big Bad Zad down to get more ice-time in San Antonio will only be beneficial to himself and the Avalanche organization.
It is a win-win situation, the player will get to play his game, where he can make those mistakes down in the AHL, and learn from them at a proper pace. While Colorado fix their own problems.
They traded Ryan O’Reilly for this kid, they need to take care of him, and develop him as any other team would(besides the Sabres of course.)
Zadorov can also now form some chemistry with another top defensive prospect in Chris Bigras. Having those two honing their games with the Rampage will ultimately benefit the Avalanche down the road, fans just need a dose of reality and patience to understand this.
Nikita Zadorov will be a top defenseman for the Colorado Avalanche sooner than most think, even though he is just one year removed from being a teenager. This is absolutely the correct way to handle prospects, with patience and care, now the fans need to do the same.
Sebastian Noble is currently in his third year with The Hockey Writers covering the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers. Liverpool, England, and of course Colorado Avalanche & Florida Panthers supporter. You can follow him on Twitter @SebastianHNoble