Connect with us

Canadiens Analysis

Should The Canadiens Attempt A Zadina Reclamation Project?



Montreal canadiens Zadina

The Montreal Canadiens are not afraid to pull the trigger when it comes to gambling on a player’s untapped potential.

Kirby Dach served as the perfect example of how difficult it is to judge a player’s impact when they’re not given enough developmental runway by the team that drafted them.

Not only did Dach emerge as a great player in transition, which in turn led to improved numbers for players like Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki, but he also quickly established himself as a player that will help Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes navigate the rebuild.

It may not seem like it in retrospect, but Hughes gambled by trading for Dach and signing him to a four-year contract that will pay him an annual average value of $3.362 million.

With his first reclamation project yielding fantastic results, Hughes quickly pounced on another player with significant untapped potential: Alex Newhook.

Newhook, 22, may not have produced much with the Colorado Avalanche, but his 14 goals and 16 assists last season were paired with encouraging underlying numbers, mitigating much of the risk that comes with gambling on a younger player in the NHL.

And now, there may be an opportunity for a third reclamation projection available for Hughes and the Canadiens, as the 6th overall pick at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Filip Zadina, is expected to be placed on unconditional waivers by the Detroit Red Wings to terminate his contract.

Different Situation

Firstly, it’s a rather encouraging sign that Zadina has agreed to the contract termination. Not only is he forgoing a significant amount of money, but he’s also willing to bet on his potential, which is exactly what general managers such as Hughes want to see from young players who did not manage to carve out a roster spot with their draft teams.

However, his production has been quite concerning.

In 190 games with the Detroit Red Wings, Zadina has managed to score just 28 goals and 40 assists, producing some questionable numbers in the process.

For example, when Zadina was on the ice last year, the Red Wings controlled just 48.1 percent of the shots, the best result he’s produced during his young career. This year he managed a little over 48 percent of the shots, which isn’t terrible, but is far from the type of numbers worth investing in.

On the other hand, there are some things worth looking into, such as the 54 percent control of high-danger shots the Red Wings enjoyed whenever Zadina was on the ice. He finished the year with a 53 percent expected goals for percentage (xGF%), which, on a team like the Red Wings, is quite good. In fact, other than Elmer Soderblom, no other player on the Red Wings enjoyed a higher xGF%.

Brass Tacks

The Montreal Canadiens struggle when it comes to controlling high-danger scoring chances as well as expected goals for, meaning that Zadina could potentially help improve the team in two crucial areas.

The biggest issue remains his production.

Strong underlying numbers are always worth looking into, but there comes a point strong underlying numbers aren’t enough, especially if scoring does not eventually follow.

Seeing as the Canadiens could stand to improve their depth on the wing, a short-term ‘show-me’ contract for Zadina could make sense, but at this point in the rebuild, there are simply too many question marks in the lineup to invest in Zadina’s long-term potential.

All Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens statistics via NaturalStaTrick.

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Where would he play? We’ve already got far too many forwards as it is. Also, considering all the comments he made when we passed over him in the draft, my guess is there’s a segment of fans and media that won’t let him forget that.

As for reclamation projects, don’t forget about Montembeault and Kovacevic. Both of those guys were claimed off waivers and have turned out great for the rebuild. Add in Dach and Newhook, and we’re gathering our own group of “misfits”. It definitely worked out for the Stanley Cup champs, so who knows… 😁


I’d be shocked if he were to want to come to Montreal.

Pierre B.

He could play more minutes in Laval to improve himself and gain confidence. He has cleared waivers with a bigger contract; he’s likely to do so again after he signed as a free agent. There’s little risk of signing him if his cap hit can be completely buried in the AHL.


I say absolutely yes…sign him for about $1M, one year.

He blows it, for whatever reason(s), then he’s gone. 1 yr for $1M is totally fine. We have that in the cap reserve fund (AKA, Carey Price LTIR).

But what if he does turn it around and hits it big? Talent-wise, he has more “upside” than most of the current Habs forwards.

I know we already have too many forwards. But competition is very good. And one or two can be traded, or put on waivers, or bought-out, or sent to the minors. There are options.

I say do it and take the chance. This one is very low risk.


No room at the inn unless hughes can pull a rabbit out of a hat and move Hoff/Armi
Then you have to evaluate whether Zadina is a better prospect than pitlick, RHP, Ylonen or heineman.

It would be interesting if he would sign a 2-yr deal and start the season in Laval…with the promise that if he produces he could be the first callup…

John Stone

would be an interesting signing if it was possible.

Alex Barrette

I would give him a look. Problem is where does he play? There’s too many forwards already . He wont be able to get a top 9 spot. And im pretty sure he doesnt want to play for the team who passed on him.

Scott Y.

He told Detroit he would not go to Grand Rapids, so not sure if he would accept a 2 way contract. If not, it would severely limit anyone taking him on. In his first development camp he looked like a future stud. Unfortunately he had some bad puck luck to start his career, became his own worst enemy, and would just be seething on the bench after missing chances. Unlike the majority of Wings fans I don’t think he’s a terrible hockey player, but I don’t see him ever becoming a big scorer or a guy that moves the needle much. He can move the puck up the ice, and has some hockey IQ, can pass the puck around, not much of a back checker, not strong on the boards, so his value is if he can become a finisher on a line with a dynamic center. Unfortunately what he was best at in Detroit was hitting goalies with the puck.