The 16th pick: Nikita Zadorov (2013)
Tuesday, 06.24.2014 / 11:00 AM
The Blue Jackets own the 16th pick in this year's draft, and we're going to take a look back at what that pick has yielded over the past few years.
In 2013, the Buffalo Sabres held pick No. 16 in the first round, and it wasn’t the Sabres' first choice during in that draft, as they acquired the very pick in a trade with Minnesota that sent former Sabres captain Jason Pominville to the Wild.
Buffalo selected Nikita Zadorov from the OHL's London Knights, making him just the third defensemen picked at No. 16 in the last 10 years. While in London, Zadorov played alongside Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta, who was part of Pittsburgh’s top-four defensemen this past season and was a crucial part of their special teams success during the regular season and into the playoffs.
The Russian-born, two-way defenseman scored his first NHL goal last October in just his second career game (against the Boston Bruins). He played only seven games for the Sabres before being returned to the Knights, where he worked on his game at the junior level and had a chance to compete for junior hockey's biggest prize.
Zadorov registered 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) in 36 games during the regular season and added nine points (four goals, five assists) in nine playoff games for London.
Despite being sent back to junior this past season, Zadorov - along with fellow 2013 first-round pick Rasmus Ristolainen - is considered a strong contender to make the Sabres' roster out of training camp this fall.