If you’re the London Knights, it’s tough to lose six-foot-six blueliner Jarred Tinordi to the professional ranks.
Bringing in six-foot-five Russian import defenseman Nikita Zadorov eases that pain.
Zadorov, much like Tinordi last season, sees a lot of defensive-zone starts and his tasked with neutralizing the other teams hotshot snipers – a job he has seemed to excel at. But an imposing frame isn’t the only skill Zadorov has at his disposal against Ontario Hockey League forwards.
The Moscow product is also a very mobile player and has a very effective stick. His great tools in combination with his size have allowed him to keep apposing goal scorers in check for the most part, as he boasts an impressive plus-12 rating. He can also dish out bone crushing bodychecks that can shift momentum in his teams favour.
And even though he may not light up the scoreboard – just seven points in 21 games this season – there’s still a lot to be excited about in Zadorov, according to Future Considerations’ scout Brian Huddle.
“Zadorov is the proto-typical defensive defenseman with size and strength and even though he doesn’t score much, he makes it up with his solid d-zone play,” Huddle said. “He also has very good mobility and foot work not usually associated with a player of his stature. His one-on-one defensive game is quite mature and with his skating and wingspan, he makes life hell for forwards trying to get around him.”
Forwards in the OHL aren’t the only ones who Zadorov has made miserable.
An international mainstay on young Russian squads, Zadorov has impressed representing at both the U18 World Championship and the U17 World Challenge this past year. He also suited up against his Ontario Hockey League foes and Team Canada hopefuls in the Subway Super Series.
It stands to reason that Zadorov will be a big part of his country’s entry at the 2013 World Junior Championship on home soil as well, aiming to help Russia avenge a silver medal finish last year in Calgary.
Which will make it harder for National Hockey League clubs to miss Zadorov at June’s draft.