Nearing the home stretch of our 25U25 list, we take a look at yet another late round pick that is providing incredible value to the Panthers.
#78: Maxim Mamin
Position: Left Wing
Team: Florida Panthers
Drafted in 2016, 6th Round (175th Overall)
Late in the 2015-2016 season, the Florida Panthers sent Brandon Pirri to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a 6th round pick. Many felt the return was lacking, particularly because late round draft picks rarely materialize to anything substantial. But the Panthers have been proving to be sneaky good with getting value out of late round picks.
With the 175th pick overall in the 2016 draft, the Cats selected a Russian 21-year-old named Maxim Mamin. That’s right, Maxim was 21-years-old when selected, meaning he was passed up by NHL teams in three previous drafts - Maxim was first draft-eligible in 2013.
Mamin is what hockey pundits like to call a “late bloomer”. In his draft-eligible year, Mamin was playing in the MHL, the Russian junior league - the same league that Grigori Denisenko played in this past season. In that campaign, Mamin put up 29 points in 61 games. For comparison, Denisenko accumulated 22 points in just 31 games this year in the same league at the same comparative age.
Two additional seasons went by with no NHL team lining up to draft Mamin. In the first, Mamin played his final year in Russia’s MHL, and showed marked improvement by scoring 11 goals and dishing out 24 assists in 49 games. Then, Mamin made the jump to the KHL, posting 10 points in 39 games as a rookie.
With the 2015-2016 season coming around, Maxim still found himself grinding his teeth in the KHL with no NHL teams calling. He played his penultimate KHL season that year, and in many ways digressed with only 7 points in 48 games. Things looked bleak for Mamin, and it likely was reflecting in his play. And then, for whatever reason, the Panthers decided to call his name.
The season following his draft, Maxim made huge strides in the KHL, putting up 25 points (12G/13A) in 42 games, and earning himself an entry-level contract with Florida.
It didn’t take long for Mamin to make his presence felt on North American ice, as he essentially split his time evenly between the Panthers (4 points in 26 games) and AHL affiliate Springfield (25 points in 32 games) in his first year in the Western Hemisphere.
Entering his age-24 season, Mamin is as close to being a rookie a player can be without technically being a rookie due to the 25-game limit. He has a real chance to crack the Panthers lineup out of training camp if he continues to display the same kind of speed, tenacity, forechecking, and offensive upside that he displayed last year.
Maxim made himself a fan favorite with his relentless style of play. With increased minutes and usage, Mamin could carve himself a nice niche as a tenacious bottom nine forward for the Panthers for years to come.
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