Team: London Knights (OHL)
Date of Birth: April 16, 1995
Place of Birth: Moscow, Russia
Ht: 6'5" Wt: 228 lbs
2012-2013 Regular Season Stats:
2012-2013 Playoff Stats (includes Memorial Cup):
If there's one thing this draft has a lot of, it's very large defensemen. Nikita Zadorov is no exception, as the behemoth 6'5", 225-pounder from Moscow already has NHL-ready size. He's super-strong, as well, to go with the size, which is not a bad combination to have in a defenseman. Add to that his above-average skating, and you get the makings of a solid defenseman at the NHL level.
Zadorov has holes in his game, to be sure; his offense is raw, and his positioning is not always solid. That said, he uses his mobility well to recover, and LOVES to hit and use his giant frame to disrupt opponents.
Zadorov is ranked #22 in the final Central Scouting North American rankings.
Zadorov is an elite physical player who possesses many tools for future success. He has a 6'5", 220-pound frame, and he is unusually strong for a player his age. He uses it to his advantage, as he loves to take the body and land highlight reel hits. He skates at an above-average to plus level, which is significant for a player at his size. He can close gaps remarkably well. The rest of his game is not as impressive, but he could be a fine puck mover and positional defender. Scouting sources have divided opinion on both of those fronts. He has improved as the OHL season has progressed. He shows ability to move the puck and make good reads in his own end, but his decision making is not always perfect. He possesses some offensive upside, but it is likely more in the average range.
Potential is an overused word you’ll hear a lot come draft day but it’s a word that really describes what Nikita Zadorov’s game is about. Sure, the 6-foot-5 blueliner is a physical freak at such a young age. And sure, he’s already a very good all around player. But if he lives up to his potential, we’re talking about a franchise defenseman right here.
Zadorov’s game is a little rough around the edges, but his competitiveness and physicality allow him to really impact the game. His offense is continuing to evolve and his positioning in the defensive zone has also steadily improved this year.
Why he'd be a good fit in Columbus:
I think Zadorov could be a good fit for the Jackets in time, but he would need to work on shoring up some of his weaknesses. That said, he's a big guy who can skate, and isn't afraid to use his body. Considering some of the big-body defensemen on the Jackets and their lack of skating (thinking of Nikita Nikitin and Dalton Prout), a guy like Zadorov could be a decent addition to the Jackets' blue-line corps.
Zadorov in Action