Chicago Blackhawks: 3 keys to success for Nikita Zadorov

Chicago Blackhawks, Nikita Zadorov Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Blackhawks, Nikita Zadorov Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nikita Zadorov
Nikita Zadorov Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Key 3: Be open to change

In an article by NBC’s Charlie Roumeliotis Zadorov was quoted about a conversation the defenseman had with Bowman, saying:

"“He wants me to play me big minutes – that’s what he said,” Zadorov said. “He wants to bring me to the next level of the shutdown D. Also, puck mover and I’ll play in all sorts of situations on the ice. So I’m really excited. He said pretty much going there to do whatever it takes to open up my potential that I still have.”"

Reaching that next level means being coachable. The team isn’t going to just throw him on the ice and expect him to work miracles. Well, actually, probably yes, but not without guidance. After this deal was made, I’ll be honest, aside from the physical side of his game I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Blackhawks’ new defenseman. I took some time to go through fan sites from his previous teams, such as FanSided’s Mile High Sticking, similar to Blackhawk Up, and saw a common complaint, he tends to take himself out of position to lay a big hit.

Fan analysis isn’t always perfect, but feedback from people who have been watching Zadorov play game after game is instructive. Clearly, Bowman thinks Zadorov has another level and is expecting the coaching staff to help him reach it. Removing warts from his playing style, such as taking himself out of position for a hit, will be exactly the kind of thing Chicago would like to see him change. If Zadorov is open to altering his game a bit, then maybe the possibility of reaching the next level is realistic.

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The jury is still out on this one. As noted earlier in this article, Zadorov is on his third team. If either of his two previous teams thought he was going to be “the guy” on the backend, they probably wouldn’t have traded him. Is he going to be that caliber of player in Chicago? It’s up to Zadorov now to prove that he’s capable of showing how much more he’s capable of doing.