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'Pretty scary' good: Filip Zadina the newest Halifax Mooseheads import ready to turn heads

The Halifax Mooseheads have enjoyed much success with import players and Filip Zadina appears to be no different.

Filip Zadina is shown during the pre-season.

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DAVID CHAN / Halifax Mooseheads

Filip Zadina is shown during the pre-season.

If you ignore the numbers on the back of the sweater of the newest European import on the Halifax Mooseheads, Filip Zadina may look eerily familiar.

“Actually it's pretty scary watching Zadina on the ice because I got a chance to play a year and a half with Timo Meier and everything he does just reminds me of Timo,” said 19-year-old veteran forward Brett Crossley.

“Obviously watching that, knowing what Timo did for this team, it's kind of exciting. I look forward to playing with him and seeing what he brings to the team.”

Zadina is the latest European player to join the Mooseheads with NHL aspirations after the team used the 11th pick of the CHL import draft to nab the 6-foot-1, 192-pound right winger from the Czech Republic.

“It’s a reason I came here, because I one day want to play in the NHL. I really believe this team will help me chase my dream,” said Zadina.

Last season, Swiss forward Nico Hischier made an immediate impact for the Herd and went first overall to the New Jersey Devils in June. Timo Meier, also from Switzerland, was selected No. 9 by the San Jose Sharks in 2015. This is Zadina’s draft year and he’s already projected to go in the top 10.

The Czech forward was originally selected by the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League last season but wanted to remain in the Czech Republic where he played 25 games against men for HC Dynamo Pardubice in the top league in the country. This summer in the Ivan Hlinka tournament, Zadina dominated the under-18 class with five goals in four games.

“I want to score goals, just be a playmaker and very nice guy to the locker room,” Zadina said.

In his first QMJHL game, Zadina scored a power-play goal to help give the Herd a 4-1 win over the Saint John Sea Dogs who raised a President Cup banner earlier in the evening.

“You can tell he’s passionate and loves the game,” said Mooseheads head coach Jim Midgley.

“He soaks it in, he’s a very coachable guy. He's one of those guys we’ve learned you tell him something once and it gets corrected.”

Bringing in a top draft prospect from Europe is nothing new for the Mooseheads. The team puts in work off the ice to ensure new players are comfortable in a new situation, including pairing him with the same billet family that hosted Hischier last season.

“We’re experienced with it. We’ve had those elite guys come through here. Whether they’re European or Canadian, we’ve done a good job of being able to handle the expectations for them and put them in situations where they’re not being bugged all the time by the media or scouts,” said Midgley.

And yes, the coach also said Zadina reminds him of Timo Meier, who he worked with for two and a half seasons as an assistant coach.

Halifax’s home-opener is Saturday against Acadie-Bathurst at 7 p.m. The Charlottetown Islanders visit Sunday at 3 p.m.

Import players selected by NHL teams in past 10 years

• Nico Hischier, 2017, 1st, New Jersey Devils

• Otto Somppi, 2016, 206th, Tampa Bay Lightning

• Timo Meier, 2015, 9th, San Jose Sharks

• Nikolaj Ehlers, 2014, 9th, Winnipeg Jets

• Martin Frk, 2012, 49th, Detroit Red Wings

• Konrad Abeltshauser, 2010, 163rd, San Jose Sharks

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