Florida Panthers 20 Under 21: #6 Adam Mascherin
Quick release has fans excited about recent draft pick
The Panthers 2nd round draft choice at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has exceptional offensive ability, landing him at #6 on our countdown:
#6 - Adam Mascherin - Forward - Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
Highest Ranking: 7 Lowest Ranking: 7
A flurry of activity surrounded the Florida Panthers at this year’s NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo, culminating with the trade of Dmitry Kulikov and an exchange of 2nd round draft positions with the Buffalo Sabres. The Panthers ended up using the 38th overall pick in the draft on 18-year-old Adam Mascherin. The left-shooting Ontario native was coming off an impressive season in Kitchener: 81 points in 65 games played (35 goals, 46 assists). To put that season in perspective, the prior year (2014-15), Mascherin played 62 games and only put up 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists). This is a player who appears to have blossomed into quite a dominant offensive force.
Preceding the draft, his rankings were solid across the board:
The scouting reports were also excellent. Consider Elite Prospects report from 2015:
Prolific scoring winger who combines an exceedingly high work ethic with speed, skill, and a mature approach to the game to overcome size differentials. An intense competitor with a booming shot, Masherin finds ways to score by outworking the opposition. He may not be the tallest player on the ice, but he isn't a lightweight either. He plays a fast, heavy game and isn't afraid to battle against tougher opponents. All-in-all, a lightning rod kind of player who will exceed expectations and bring energy to the game with each shift.
Before we make our way to “the shot,” let’s take a look at the size factor. He is listed at 5’10”, 206 lbs. Sturdy, but not tall. His lack of height reportedly led to some hesitation by NHL scouts to rank him higher. Obviously, his height (or lack thereof) will remain a point of concern until Mascherin graduates to the professional ranks and proves his detractors wrong. But so far, it has not impeded him. Dobber Prospects considered the “size problem,” earlier this year and determined there are no concerns:
At 5’10” it is easy to dismiss Mascherin as a “small player” and that is not entirely accurate. Yes he is short by pro hockey standards, but he is not small. He is 205 pounds and strong as an ox. He is built like a fire hydrant and has excellent skating ability. He has explosive acceleration and a high end top gear.
Consider that NHL Central Scouting ranked him 42nd for North American Skaters, but he was 57th in the mid-term rankings. Once again, we see that Mascherin has been trending in all the right directions.
The top-end focus, like fellow prospect Dryden Hunt, is with his shooting prowess. Like Hunt’s, Mascherin’s boomer of a shot was on full display at Development Camp. It is every bit as hard, as accurate, and as quick a release as Hunt’s. Mascherin’s shot is well noted, once again, we go to Dobber Prospects:
Mascherin has a deadly shot, hard, quick and accurate and controls the puck well at top speed. His game is reminiscent of Phil Kessel, but stronger and not yet quite as gifted offensively.
That shot is undoubtedly what drew the Panthers in when they took Mascherin slightly higher in the draft than was expected:
The Florida Panthers see a sniper who can produce goals at the NHL level in the near future. His weight was a concern but his performance at the scouting combine eased some of those concerns as he came in a few pounds lighter.
Last word on Sports noted that Mascherin’s shot truly is something special:
Adam Mascherin is a pure sniper. His shot is very heavy, but it is his release that really fools goaltenders and leads to the puck finding the back of the net. Its tough to describe, and you really have to watch the highlights, but Mascherin has a very unique release that surprises the opposition. His shot is deadly accurate, and he is able to pick corners or find the tiniest of openings. Mascherin also has the ability to score goals in tight, with the hand-eye co-ordination to get tip-ins, or pounce on rebounds.
Mascherin uses his powerful build to great effect in the cycling game and has no problem at all playing gritty when needed. His defensive zone abilities still need work, but he should get enough time to develop that aspect of his game. As for his future, Last Word on Sports projects a fine future for him:
Mascherin has the versatility to play both centre and left wing, but has spent much more time on the wing and it is likely that his future is playing the latter position at the next level. He can stand to improve his defensive game, and continue to get stronger to deal with professional players, and if he does that Mascherin could develop into a second line winger at the NHL level.
It seems obvious that his future with the Panthers will be on the wing, quite likely as a possible eventual replacement for Jussi Jokinen (as he ages gracefully towards the latter stages of his fine career or expansion draft loss). As an 18-year-old with work and development to still be done, Mascherin was not yet offered his entry-level contract. He will be sent back to Kitchener to continue his development with the expectation of possibly joining the pro ranks in 2017-18. For the time being we will admire this young goal-scorer from afar and hope that he continues to prove all the naysayers wrong. Adam Mascherin could be one of the Panthers wings of the future.