Nikita Zadorov

Hayden Soboleski



Nikita Zadorov, D

Shoots: L

Height: 6-5

Weight: 228

Born: 1994-05-15

Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Drafted: 2013 by Buffalo Sabres, 16th Overall







September 2017 – After a contract stand-off, Zadorov has signed a two-year deal in Colorado. He has officially earned graduate status as a full-time NHL d-man well on his way to achieving huge fantasy value in roto leagues. Hayden Soboleski


February 2017 – Zadorov is out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury sustained in practice. This is terrible news for the d-man who has really come into his own this year as a physical force – his blueline hits are reminiscent of Rob Blake and Nik Kronwall. His defensive game was also starting to flourish as he was getting serious ice time every night and learning to make fewer bad decisions. He only got the chance this season due to injures to his teammates, but Big Z will be a top-4 mainstay next season regardless of his peers' health.   Hayden Soboleski


October 2016 – Zadorov looks to be starting the 2016-17 season on the Avalanche roster after surviving multiple rounds of cuts and receiving pre-season minutes on the Avs' top defence pairings. He has not yet overcome the inconsistancy and occasional bad decision-making that led to him being in-and-out of the lineup last year, but he is making progress in all aspects of his game, and it appears that the new coaches realize the best way for him to achieve his potential is to get more NHL practice. If he manages to earn a permanent spot, he may evolve into a multi-category fantasy hockey monster, but this relies entirely on him proving he belongs on the ice. Hayden Soboleski


January 2016 – Zadorov has once again been assigned o the AHL. Despite fitting in at times, his tendancy to give the puck up via bad decisions is keeping him from earning trust on the ice. Hayden Soboleski

January 2015 – In an effort to promote better play through competition, the Avalanche have recalled promising prospects Bigras and Zadorov from the AHL. The team now carries eight defencemen so ice-tie will have to be earned, but its nice to see those with upside being given a chance over other bottom-pairing options. After a disappointing start to his NHL season, "Big-Z" has been an outstaning fantasy prospect in the AHL (18 points, 48 PIM in 28 games) and hopes to earn back his NHL-mainstay status. Hayden Soboleski


November 2015 – After 11 games spent with the Avalanche with only two points and a minus-five rating to show for it, Zadorov has been assigned to the AHL for the time being. He did not look out of place at times in the NHL, but his game lacked consistency and being a healthy scratch while the coach rotates defenders in and out of the lineup each game doesn't help. He has one goal in one AHL game so far, and will be given a much beter chance to develop with the Rampage. Hayden Soboleski


July 2015 – Zadorov played 60 games for Buffalo in the 2014-15 season, which was limited by mild injuries, healthy scratches, and a team suspension for missing practice. Consistency and work ethic remain question marks, but he is progressing towards his potential as a reliable defender with the ability to contribute in all situations. Zadorov finished the year with 15 points (three goals, 12 assists), five of which came on the powerplay, 134 hits, 73 blocks and 51 PIM. He did this while averaging just under 18 minutes/game of ice time, which was not overly sheltered, starting just as often in the defensive zone as in the offensive zone. He will slot as a 2nd or 3rd pairing defenseman for the Avalanche next season and should be given a chance on the second powerplay unit. Hayden Soboleski


June 2015 – As part of the package that brought Ryan O'Rielly to the Buffalo Sabres, Nikita Zadorov, along with JT Compher and Mikhail Grigorenko, was shipped to the Colorado Avalanche. Brendan Ross


December 2014- There's something about playing on the 13th of the month that brings out the offense in Niktia Zadorov's game. Taking on the visiting Florida Panthers, Nikita Zadorov barried on a beautiful feed from Tyler Ennis to send the Sabres home winners with his first career game-winning-goal and his second point of the night after notching an assist earlier in the game. This game marked many of firsts for the young Russian as it was not only his first game winning goal but also the first multipoint game. It was thought that Zadorov may be loaned to Team Russia for the upcoming 2015 WJHC, but with the wrath of injuries to the Sabres blueline they decided it would be in his and the teams best interest to stick in Buffalo. His game is full of talent but as with most blueliners it can take a couple years to develop their full potential a la Victor Hedman. Travis Watson


October 2014- For the second consecutive year Nikita Zadorov has opened the season with the Buffalo Sabres. This time around he's looking to prove he belongs in the NHL for good. Last year with the London Knights it was the tale of two ends of the spectrum. One being when he came to play he clearly showed he was one of if not the best player on the ice and then two when he showed he was clearly uninterested and just out for a sunday morning skate. Unfortunately tale number two was the case on far too many occaisons including the 2014 Mastercard Memorial Cup where he, like many of his teamates, forgot to show up. Despite the disappointing ending to his 2014 season his skill set is still to tantilizing to ignore. Sitting in the press box every night doesn't do him any good but if you saw him play in London last year you would agree another year in Junior will do nothing for a player who doesn't want to be there. Either way you could see a trade change the landscape for Zadorov whether it's a current Sabre on the move to open up a spot like the often mentioned Tyler Myers or the trade of his rights by the Knights to an OHL contender. His situation should be more clear within the next coming weeks. Travis Watson



July 2014- Zadorov is a player that showed flashes of brilliance last season that got you jumping out of your seat whether it was from a big hit, end-to-end rush or unleashing a cannon from the point. However, games like this were followed too many times by lackadaisical performances which make you wonder if he has the drive to become the star that he is capable of being. The Sabres believe in the latter and that is why they made him a first round selection at the 2013 draft as there are very few 6'5" players in the hockey world that can make skating as effortless as Nikita makes it. It very well could've been a case of a player who was too good to be playing at that level combined with the disappointment of being sent down after beginning the year with the NHL club. At the Mastercard Memorial Cup Zadorov didn't have the same impact he had showed earlier in the season that led him to being named to the OHL 2nd All-Star Team. He and his London Knights teamates were ousted after three games as the host team wasn't even able to win one of them. Zadorov is going to need to have a big offseason and strong summer to prove that he's not only ready to contribute now but that he can keep producing with the same energy, effectiveness and passion for a full 82 game schedule. This Russian native has a bright future ahead of him if he keeps bringing is hard-hitting ways and solid two-way game to the ice each and every night and that makes him a defenseman to own in almost any dynasty format. As with most defenseman it may take a couple years to hit his potential so draft accordingly. Travis Watson


May 2014 –Nikita Zadorov was named to the OHL's 2nd All-Star Team joining Connor McDavid, Scott Kosmachuk, Michael Dal Colle, Adam Pelech  and Matt Murray. Zadorov and his Knights are preparing to represent London as 2014 CHL Mastercard Memorial Cup hosts starting May 16th.Brendan Ross


March 2014 – The OHL named Sabres' prospect Nikita Zadorov the Defenceman of the Month for February after the big russian tallied six goals, 13 points and a healthy plus-10 rating in a dozen games. Brendan Ross


January 2014- Zadorov may have been disappointed to leave Malmo with only a bronze medal but he certainly didn’t disappoint with his level of play. For his efforts he was named a first team all-star at the conclusion of the 2014 World Junior Championships and played a pivotal role in helping Russia secure a medal for the fourth straight year. Zadorov finished the tournament as the highest goal scoring defenseman with four goals and was able to score in every situation finishing up with two powerplay markers, a short-handed goal and an even strength tally. The London Knights will be hoping for him to keep up this momentum and help lead them to some hardware of their own in a couple months time at the 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup. Travis Watson


December 2013 – Nikita Zadorov is one of seven defensemen selected to the Russian Under-20 World Junior roster for the upcoming Championships in Malmo, Sweden. Zadorov's game has grown leaps and bounds from this time last season and he has shown the Russian hockey hierarchy that he belongs since being one of the final cuts of the 2013 roster. Zadorov brings with him some valuable NHL experience and will look to showcase his two-way play as one half of Russia's top defensive pairing. Travis Watson


Dec 2013- Zadorov joins fellow Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko on Russia’s 2013-14 WJHC Selection Camp roster and looks to make the team after being one of the final cuts last season. Zadorov is a towering presence on the backline and has helped solidify the position for the London Knights since his return in late November. He would definitely be an asset to Team Russia as not many teams can put a player on the ice who is 6’5”  with the skating ability, length and two-way play that he possesses. Travis Watson


November 2013 – The Buffalo Sabres have finally returned Nikita Zadorov to the London Knights of the OHL after being a healthy scratch in recent games. Zadorov returns to London and should solidify a back end that desperately needs his stabilizing presence as they march towards the 2014 Memorial Cup. In seven games with the Buffalo Sabres, Zadorov recorded one goal , four penalty minutes and finished with a minus-1 rating. Brendan Ross


October 2013- The Buffalo Sabres activated Nikita Zadorov from the injured reserve on October 19th and immediately put him in the lineup to face Colorado, the NHL’s surprise team through the first 10 games. Zadorov was coming off a sliced pinky finger in which occurred during the team’s final preseason game. With the way the Sabres mishandled Mikhail Grigorenko last year I would be very surprised to see Zadorov stick especially with his Junior club, the London Knights, set to host the Memorial Cup this season. The Sabres will be in tough all season and for his long term potential would be best suited to hone his game in junior where he can be a steadying influence on a potential championship team. The Sabres will probably likely use Zadorov until close to the nine game limit to see what they have in the big Russian kid before deciding on his 2013-14 fate. scored his first career NHL goal on his first shot while logging a shade over 17 minutes of ice time. His goal came in just his second game against the powerhouse Boston Bruins. Zadorov has shown through two games that he can play at the NHL level and has been very physical throughout the past two contests. Travis Watson


July 2013 – The Buffalo Sabres selected Nikita Zadorov of the London Knights with the 16th overall selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Zadorov was the Sabres second selection of the first round after taking another highly rated defensemen in Rasmus Ristolainen with the eighth overall selection. Zadorov is an intriguing prospect as his potential is through the roof because a defenseman with his skating ability at his size 6'5" is a rarity. Mix in his ferocious body checks and his ability to chip in offensively and Buffalo may have struck gold with this selection, although we may need to wait a few years to see his full potential. Travis Watson


January 2013 – Nikita Zadorov is a player with “great potential” and that alone could see him drafted higher than some anticipated Projected as an elite defensive defenseman, Zadorov is an imposing blueliner that terrorizes the opposition with bone-crushing body checks. From an offensive standpoint, Zadorov’s upside is limited but it is not to say he could not challenge the 40-point plateau at the NHL level. Zadorov is a good skater, especially given his massive 6’5” frame, and his ability to cover so much of the ice benefits him in all facets of the game. If there was one weakness of Zadorov’s it would be that he needs to continute to work on his pivots as he gets exposed at times when opponents come at him with speed and he’s forced to turn.  Based on his raw potential, Zadorov could go as high as a top-10 selection this June. Brendan Ross


Fantasy Outlook: B+

The big rearguard has earned an NHL spot, but his fantasy value beyond secondary stats (PIM, hits, blocks) will take time to develop.




Zadorov goal:



Zadorov drops the mitts:





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