With the No. 16 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, the Buffalo Sabres select defenseman Nikita Zadorov from London of the OHL.
Zadorov came over from Russia this season to play in the Ontario League, where he scored six goals and 25 points as a defenseman for the London Knights. In a draft full of large defensemen, Zadorov -- at 6'4", 200 pounds -- is one of the biggest.
ISS ranked Zadorov No. 8 among all skaters, while Craig Button of TSN chose him No. 11 among all prospects. NHL Central Scouting has Zadorov ranked No. 22 among North American skaters, which he counts as due to his OHL experience. Zadorov was projected as a comparable player to Jared Cowan by ISS.
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.
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.
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