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2013 NHL Draft Profile & Scouting Report: Nikita Zadorov

Looking at 2013 NHL Draft eligible defenseman from the London Knights of the OHL, Nikita Zadarov

Terry Wilson

Nikita Zadorov is one of the top defensive prospects available for this years draft. He's a big physical minded defenseman at 6"5 230lbs. He's a rookie in the Ontario Hockey League after being selected by the London Knights 9th overall in the CHL Import Draft in 2012.

Zadorov's main strengths are his defensive play and he will likely reach the NHL in a primarily shutdown role rather than being an offensive threat. While he does some room to develop his offensive skills it will still be his defensive upside that teams will be drafting for. He has played on the London Knights powerplay unit, as is seen in the video at the bottom of the post, and his offensive skills and awareness are good. However his defensive shutdown ability would be the main skills that will translate well into the NHL.

For a player that is 6"5 he skates incredibly well and has excellent mobility, not only this but excellent positioning as well. It could be worth drafting him just to see him and Jamie Oleksiak as a defensive pair, a pair of silky smooth skating giants on ice. Unlike Oleksiak, Zadorov is noted for his physicality and his ability to land a heavy bodycheck. He's not only able to do this but has on occasion stepped up into a heavyweight fight in the OHL. While it would be better for such a defensive defenseman to be able to be on the ice at all times its shows a certain camaraderie with his team mates. He combines his skating abilty and his physicality to be able to make many onrushing forwards regret coming into the offensive zone.

Is he what the Stars would want at number 10? Despite him and Oleksiak being one of the most intimidating blueline pairings in the league the Stars have plenty of what Zadorov is, a defensive minded defenseman. The Stars should be aiming for the top offensive talent and while Zadorov is a talent for sure, he's not an offensive one. I could see him being one of the surprise picks in the draft, with my money being on the Oilers.

Season Team Games Played Goals Assists Points +/- Penalty Minutes
Regular Season
2012-2013 London Knights 63 6 19 25 33 54
2011-2012 CSKA-Krasnaya Armija Moscow 41 2 4 6 20 63
2012-2013 London Knights 20 2 4 6 5 36
2011-2012 CSKA-Krasnaya Armija Moscow 8 0 0 0 2 8

Some Scouting Reports on Nikita Zadorov:

Future Considerations:

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.

Hockey's Future:

Zadorov is the not-so-gentle giant on the Knights' blueline. He's a personable kid off the ice, but certainly one that you wouldn't want to mess with on it. Zadorov had an up-and-down year with the Knights this season as he seemed to be searching for an identity.

At 6'5 and over 230 pounds, the Moscow-born Zadorov has the physicality to dominate. And, at times, his zeal to lay out his opponents with the big hit can take him out of the play. But as the year progressed, Zadorov learned to reign in his physicality and became a much more effective stay-at-home blueliner.

He has a solid shot, but doesn't project as a number-one blueliner. However, he should fit very nicely on a top pairing as the defensively responsible, crease-clearer for whom so many teams are looking.

International Scouting Services:

Uses his frame and stick extremely well defensively. Very good mobility and balance given size.
Scouting Report:
Although it took some time for Zadorov to get acclimated in the OHL he is now consistently being a defensive force on the Knights backend. He has a great reach and uses his massive frame to wipe out opponents low in the zone. For his size Nikita has great mobility and backwards skating ability which makes him very tough to beat wide. His offensive tools are intriguing but definitely need continual development with his key weapon being his heavy and accurate shot. His decision making up ice and inconsistency advancing the puck will need some fine tuning to round out his game. Incredibly high upside but will need some crucial development to get there.
NHL Potential:
Top 4 shutdown defenseman who thrives on physical play. Secondary PP potential with a big shot
Style compares to: Jared Cowan

For more information read this The Hockey Guys Profile and this Last Word On Sports Profile.

Nikita Zadarov Memorial Cup Goal Against the Saskatoon Blades: