No other facet of the Stars’ game has struggled more than defense in the past five years, and it’s time the team gets another big, strong defenseman added to the roster.
While selected after Darnell Nurse in many mock drafts, and is still available in this draft, the additional more than 30 pounds Zadorov holds over the Canadian gives him a brute physicality Dallas needs, and a physicality Dallas fans love to see. Plus he’s only 17 pounds lighter than former Dallas Stars captain and beloved enforcer Derian Hatcher.
Hockey’s Future shows the 18-year-old Russian standing a towering 6’5” and weighing in at 228 pounds. Since starting with the Knights this season, Zadorov has spent right at 100 minutes in the penalty box, scored eight goals and registered 23 assists in 83 games . In the team’s regular season, he sat at plus 33; the highest plus/minus on a roster of 34 individuals.
So what does Zadorov really bring to the table for Dallas? Beyond just being able to emphatically knock opponents off their feet, defensively, Zadorov is able to clear his crease of intruders while also producing a powerful shot from the blue line offensively. And the benefit of a genuinely big guy on the blue line is something Dallas needs more than anything else in what has been anticipated to be the team’s year to rise from the ashes of far too many defeats.
Zadorov is also noted to be an extremely strong skater, complete with speed and agility, making him a serious threat on an opposing blue line and in the offensive zone. As with most vertically gifted 18-year-olds, Zadorov will have some finesse to add to his game, but his performance with the Knights this season has highlighted his ability to rein himself in and produce. And along with the majority of Dallas’ roster, Zadorov’s youthfulness matches what the Stars organization has been striving to become; a team that can start, and participate in, a trend of post-season success.
Defense is what Dallas needs, and defense is what Zadorov can bring.