Buffalo Sabres: Nikita Zadorov Uncertain of FutureOct 23, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Nikita Zadorov (61) celebrates his fist NHL goal against the Boston Bruins during the second period at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
It’s been a tough start to the NHL season for Buffalo Sabres defenceman Nikita Zadorov. The 2013 16th overall draft pick currently sits eighth on the depth chart, and has yet to see a single minute on action.
Zadorov appears to find himself in an difficult position. While he has been unable to get on the ice for the Sabres, they feel he is too big (6′ 5″ and 238 lbs) and would not benefit from returning to the juniors.Oct 3, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Buffalo Sabres defensemen Nikita Zadorov (51) carries the puck against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
The 19-year old discussed the situation with John Vogl of The Buffalo News: “It’s not my job to make the decision with all that. I’m going to be there when they’re going to tell me to be. I’m going to keep working hard, keep playing hard. It doesn’t matter where.
“For me, it’s kind of hard. I think it’s hard for every player just to practice. Every player wants to play. I’m just going to keep working hard and wait for an opportunity.”
Zadorov’s agent suggest the Sabres should send him to Russia, to play with HC CSKA Moscow, who selected him 4th overall in the 2012 KHL junior draft. However, the NHL claims the current CBA means the Sabres are obligated to loan him back to his CHL club if he is going to go anywhere.
As far as Zadorov is concerned, he doesn’t care where he goes, just as long as he gets to see some playing time. During the previous two seasons, he contributed 55 points in 99 appearances for the London Knights .
For my money, Ted Nolan has to a make a decision soon in respect of Zadorov, who had a -4 rating and one point in seven appearances for the Sabres last season. Rather than keeping him on the bench, Nolan should at least give the Moscow, Russia native a chance to show what he can do before coming to any conclusions.