The 2013 NHL Entry Draft in New Jersey is just over a month away. As we inch closer to this year’s draft, I’ll continue to plug away and post as many scouting reports on the top draft eligible players from the Ontario Hockey League as I can.
Here is my scouting report on 2013 draft eligible Nikita Zadorov of the London Knights.
Nikita Zadorov Age – 18 Position – Defenseman Height – 6′ 5″ Weight – 228 Draft Projection: 8-14th overall OHL Team: London Knights 2013 Regular Season Stats: 6 goals, 19 assists, 25 points, +33, 54PIM, 63 games played 2013 Playoff Stats: 2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points, 36PIM, 21 games played NHL Comparable(s) – Fedor Tyutin
Upside – 8/10
Strengths – Nikita Zadorov is one of, if not my favorite draft eligible defenseman in this year’s draft class. He has big, powerful strides and is an above average skater, which is impressive given his size. He has a huge frame and when he uses it to his advantage and plays with an edge, he’s a dominant player. The good thing about Zadorov is that he often does just that. At just 18 years of age, he has man strength and isn’t afraid to use it.
Zadorov makes a good first pass and can move the puck quite effectively. He’s a confident player and will have no problems carrying the puck up the ice, either. His puck skills are by no means elite, but he does have above average skills and is a good puck possession player. He is very hard to get around and is strong in his own zone. He doesn’t lose many puck battles and for the most part is positionally sound. Zadorov doesn’t get rattled easy and can consistently eat up big minutes. He plays in all situations and, while he’s not a power play dynamo, he’s not out of place on the power play and can play on the penalty kill as well.
Weaknesses – Zadorov’s a talented player but sometimes he tries to force a play when it’s best to keep it simple and make the high percentage play. Zadorov’s raw but is very talented and as he gains more experience, the amount of mistakes he makes will continually grow smaller. Right now he has the tools to play the game at a high level but is still learning exactly how to utilize them. His offensive game is continually getting better but I’m not sure it’s good enough for him to translate into a defenseman capable of running a top power play unit and producing offense at the NHL level
Career Projection – Zadorov doesn’t have many flaws in his game and is pretty well rounded, but I think a realistic projection for Zadorov is a #3 defenseman who can play 2nd unit power play and play on the top penalty killing unit. Should Zadorov continue to improve offensively, he could be capable of becoming a top pairing defenseman.
2013 Draft Eligible Prospect Profiles:
Sean Monahan – Ottawa 67′s
Darnell Nurse – Soo Greyhounds
Max Domi – London Knights
Bo Horvat – London Knights
Ryan Hartman – Plymouth Whalers
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