Colorado Avalanche: Nikita Zadorov In the Bad Books Again

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov was benched on March 4th and left out of the team for several matches afterwards. How long can this continue and he still be an Av?

For how much longer Nikita Zadorov will be a member of the Colorado Avalanche is anyone’s guess.

He didn’t start the season well and was benched by Coach Bednar because of his play, which consisted of way too many penalty minutes and not enough quality play on the ice.  He became a liability on the ice.

Coach Bednar didn’t put up with that for too long.

After that happened Zadorov looked like he’d turned the corner. I wrote a post talking about the mental shift that appeared to have taken place in him.

All of a sudden Zadorov had the role of shutting down key opposition players during games.  He was the tagger, not letting those key players out of his sights.

And he did the job well. You could see a definite shift in his attitude and on-ice play.

Then for goodness knows what reason that mental shift went AWOL.

Very quickly Zadorov became a liability on the ice once more.

During the second period of the game against the Anaheim Ducks, on March 4th, Zadorov was benched and not seen again for the remainder of that game and several afterwards.

Coach Bednar clearly wasn’t happy with Zadorov’s performance. I saw a lack of consistency. And with a player at the NHL level, there’s a clear expectation that each player will bring their best to each and every game they play.

With Zadorov that simply doesn’t happen.

During the 2018-19 season, Zadorov’s name was thrown around as being on the trade block. It didn’t happen because of the push to the playoffs and the Avalanche needing a strong defenseman.

He’s big and when he’s bringing his ‘A’ game to the rink he’s definitely an asset defensively to the team.

So far, as much as we’ve played of this 2019-20 season he’s played inconsistently. How much longer will Coach Jared Bednar, and more importantly Joe Sakic accept this play from Zadorov?

He’s not a cat with nine lives. Zadorov has already had two inconsistent seasons. How many does it take for him to show his true worth to the team?  I’d say, not many more, if any.

There are a number of up and coming defenseman in the Avalanche funnel, both at the AHL and college level who could easily take his place and be of more value on an on-going basis to the team..

Just look at the calibre of defenseman Cale Makar and how valuable a player he has been since stepping into the Avalanche line up last year during the playoffs, straight out of his College Hockey season. Makar has proven his worth to the team tenfold.

Zadorov is big. And when he’s played well in games it has been in the role of the shadower, shutting down those key players on teams that cause too many scoring chances against the Avalanche.

Can he realize that if he’s able to mentally stay in the space of playing that key role, and putting those solid and fair hits on players at key times, that he’s valued on the ice?

Or will he continue with the mental slips that occur, which will ultimately lead to him being traded once this 2019-2020 season is eventually called over?

Next: Playoff Scenarios in COVID-19 Times

The Avalanche will likely keep hold of him IF there is any slim chance the season resumes and they play in the Stanley Cup Finals.My question though is, what will it take for him to prove himself to Coach Bednar in a way that has him included in the team for the playoff period?

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