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Top 25 Under 25: #19 Dominik Masin

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The 19-year old Czech defenseman had a really good year cut short by injury.

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If Dominik Masin had been 100% healthy for the entire 2014-15 season, he might have finished higher on this countdown.

Coming over to the Peterborough Petes of the OHL in the CHL Import Draft after being selected in the 2nd round, 35th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Masin paired with future Tampa Bay pick Matthew Spencer and quickly adjusted to the North American game, posting 26 points in 48 games and logging big minutes as a top D for the Petes.

Here's how the panel ranked Dominik Masin:

Kyle Alexander John Fontana Mike Gallimore GeoFitz4 Brett Frieman
22 NR 20 22 15

Previous Ranks: #25 (2014)

In last year's ranking, we mused that Masin might be slated for Syracuse sooner rather than later; as a European draftee, he isn't subjected to the same age restrictions junior-aged North American CHLers are faced with. By all accounts, Masin was on track to make the leap as expected and was a bright spot in an uneven year for Peterborough, who finished the OHL season with just 58 points (.426 winning %). His even strength point production was pedestrian (just 12 even strength points in 48 games) but he was a big weapon on the power play and played in all situations. He offers a bit more physicality than a lot of defense prospects coming up through the pipeline; here's what Bolt Prospects said about him from their recent Supplemental Rankings, where he was ranked 15th:

Masin has good size and mobility like Koekkoek and Spencer, with offensive upside that lies somewhere between the two, although much closer to Spencer's than Koekkoek's. With that said, the thing that sets the Czech-born blueliner apart from his two contemporaries is a zeal for the physical game that at times, dare we say, borders on Radko Gudas-like delight.

If losing Radko Gudas made you worry about a lack of toughness on the back end in Tampa Bay, Braydon Coburn assuaged those fears in the short term; Masin might just be the long-term answer. The only thing that derailed Masin's otherwise excellent first season in North America was a very serious facial injury that occurred in late February in a game against the Sudbury Wolves. Masin fell into an open bench door and required surgery to repair a broken orbital bone, broken collarbone, and sinus damage.

The injury prevented Masin from capitalizing on a strong rookie campaign in the CHL, and likely means he's slated to return to the Petes again for 2015-16, delaying his professional debut with the Syracuse Crunch perhaps until the 2016-17 season. If he were to turn pro early, he'd first need and entry-level contract with the Lightning, who have some room under the 50-contract limit with just 47 players under contract as of this writing. Still, a full season in Peterborough and a cameo appearance in the spring for Syracuse on an ATO seem like a more reasonable expectation for his 2015-16 season.