The Detroit Red Wings have lent another high-profile hope to a European hockey team to continue their development during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Forward Filip Zadina, sixth overall pick in 2018, will play for HC Ocelari Trinec in the Czech Extraliga, the highest level hockey league in the Czech Republic.
Last week defender Moritz Seider, sixth overall pick in 2019, was loaned out to the Mannheim Eagles of Germany’s top league, Deutsche Eishockey Liga.
“It was an easy decision for me,” Zadina said on the Trinec team website. “Trinec belongs to the top. I think these are the best conditions for hockey in the Czech Republic. Another thing is the coach (Vaclav) Varada, who led me in the national junior team. We won the Cup. Hlinka Gretzky (in Zadina scored two goals in the gold medal game against the United States). “
Zadina’s father, Marek, is assistant coach of HC Ocelari Trinec and a former member of the 1992 Czechoslovakia junior team.
Head coach Varada scored 58 goals in 493 career NHL games with the Buffalo Sabers and Ottawa Senators from 1995 to 2006.
“I am happy that the situation with Filip has finally been successfully resolved and he will work for us,” Varada told the website. “I contacted (general manager) Steve Yzerman, outlining our plans and a vision for its use during the NHL hiatus.
“The Detroit management and Filip know that they will be working honestly with us, as we are used to, and why it would be good for the Red Wings if their young player played games at a brisk pace before the start of the NHL . “
Trinec’s sporting director Jan Peterek said Zadina will also help with insurance costs to train and play in their 14-team league.
“It would be very risky to pay a lot of money for insurance of NHL players when there may be times when only three games can be played,” Peterek told the website. “Filip has offered to share the financial burden himself. It’s a nice gesture that we appreciate and that shows how much it is worth playing at Trinec.”
Zadina said Red Wings director of player evaluation Jiri Fischer had “taken the lead” in crafting the deal with Trinec, the 2019 league champions.
Fischer, a native of Horovice, Czech Republic, was a first-round pick for the Red Wings in 1998, won a Stanley Cup in Detroit in 2002 and retired three years later after suffering cardiac arrest during a game at Joe Louis Arena. in 2005.
Varada said Zadina “could get some space” and play an exhibition game in September before the season starts in October. He is expected to return to the Red Wings as late as November and prepare for training camp, which is set to begin on November 17 with the 2020-21 season starting December 1.
Zadina scored eight goals, 15 points and an under-13 record in 28 games in Detroit before injuring his ankle in February.
The 6-foot, 195-pound winger also had nine goals, 16 points and a minus-9 record in 21 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins.