Maxim Mamin, the 175th draft selection by the Florida Panthers in the 2016 NHL Draft, finally arrived onto the scene in North America during the 2017-18 campaign.
Following three years in the KHL, Mamin successfully transitioned into a completely different playing environment (smaller ice-hockey rinks).
In Mamin’s final season with CSKA Moscow during the 2016-17 KHL season, the underappreciated winger recorded 12G, 13A, and 25 points, leading CSKA towards the Gagarin Cup Finals. The former CSKA Moscow standout started the 2017-18 pro-hockey campaign in the minors, playing for the Springfield Thunderbirds.
Maxim quickly proved he simply didn’t belong in the minor leagues. In 32 AHL contests, Mamin produced a respectable slash line of 9G, 16A, and 25 points, as well as registering a plus/minus rating of +3. Essentially, Maxim experienced tremendous success in effectively adapting in North America, overcoming all obstacles facing the Russian-born winger.
On January 1st, 2018, Mamin received a well-deserved promotion, becoming called up and subsequently making his Panthers’ debut against the CBJ on January 7th. Mamin was eventually demoted five days following his NHL debut, but was recalled on January 29th, permanently remaining on the Panthers’ roster until the conclusion of the NHL season.
In Mamin’s 26th NHL game as a Panther, playing predominantly fourth line minutes nightly, the Russian winger tallied 3G, 1A, and 4 points. Additionally, Mamin registered 51 total hits, 7PIM, a plus/minus rating of +2, and an adequate shooting percentage of 10.7%, all while receiving an underwhelming 10:31 minutes of ATOI (Average Time on Ice) on a game-by-game basis.
While Mamin’s offensive numbers weren’t necessarily eye-popping or jaw-dropping, the youngster conveyed he could certainly develop and remain a relatively productive 4th liner in Florida. In Mamin’s brief stint, he demonstrated effectiveness in numerous areas, most notably with his physicality, skating, and competitive drive.
As a merely inexperienced NHLer, Mamin could certainly improve in various alternative facets, such as his defensive and shot blocking abilities. With competent bench boss Bob Boughner in charge, Mamin will unquestionably experience growth and development under Boughner’s system.
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Although, considering the recent acquisition in veteran sniper Mike Hoffman and promising high-end prospect Henrik Borgström are collectively arriving in the following season, the 23-year-old winger will undoubtedly become buried under the Panthers’ depth chart.
Maxim’s current chances of becoming slotted into Florida’s opening night lineup are roughly 50/50, quite frankly. The former Panthers draft choice will become forced into defeating the competition in training camp and preseason, as means of solidifying a permanent role on the Florida Panthers.
A common narrative in Mamin’s career will be tested once again: proving doubters wrong. NHL scouts were skeptical of Mamin, hence resulting in Maxim slipping into the 6th round. Additionally, CSKA Moscow coaches and management didn’t possess ample confidence in Mamin’s abilities, even despite an awfully impressive tenure in the KHL.
In essence, Mamin must utilize the offseason as means of enhancing the glaring weaknesses or holes in the Russian’s style of play. Moreover, Mamin should unequivocally focus on becoming physically and mentally tougher, as well as forming crisp chemistry with fellow teammates, coaches, and others.
By clearly demonstrating compassion and desire for continuous improvement, coaches and management will undoubtedly take notice, thus potentially handing Mamin the ‘keys to success’ on the fourth line.
Ultimately, coaches truly admire commitment and a grinding mindset (for instance, Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck shooting pucks following a loss, or even Jaromir Jagr training in the gym well past midnight), so if Mamin effectively communicates those aforementioned characteristics, then Maxim will indubitably find himself improving and becoming a regular NHLer.
In fact, Mamin performed exceptionally well in 2018 IIHF tournament, representing Team Russia in a competitive spirit. In 6 World Championship games played, Maxim Mamin potted an astounding 3 goals, thus signifying how prepared and effective the 6’3″, 191lb winger was throughout the course of the tournament. Essentially, Maxim made a positive difference, but Russia placed a whopping 6th, despite the outstanding performance of Mamin.
With the highly anticipated 2019 rapidly approaching, could Maxim Mamin improve upon his 2017-18 rookie campaign and develop into a potent NHL bottom six winger for the 2018-19 campaign?