The Tampa Bay Lightning selected 19 year old forward Mikhail Shalagin in the seventh round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. The Russian winger set a new MHL (a Russian junior hockey league) record in goals in the 2018-19 season, scoring 48 times in 43 games.
Shalagin also participated in the Lightning development camp in June, without having a signed contract with his Russian team HC Spartak Moskva. According to a new report, he’ll be joining the Tampa Bay Lightning organization this summer. Russian hockey writer Igor Eronko assumes that will play for the Syracuse Crunch next season.
We’ve translated a short interview he gave to the HC Spartak’s official site where Shalagin discusses his impressions from the Lightning development camp and his plans for the next season.
Artem Batrak: What is your impression from the development camp?
Mikhail Shalagin: I liked it a lot. The coaches told me what I need to improve. I’ve never been to North America and it was very interesting for me to come there and see everything with my own eyes.
A.B.: What did the coaches say?
M.S.: That I need to work on my skating skills. Also my physical conditioning is not perfect.
A.B.: What impressed you the most?
M.S.: They worked with me individually. There was a Russian coach who explained a lot of things to me, because my English isn’t very good. But I’m going to learn. We also agreed to practice very carefully, without any hitting. I had a good time.
A.B.: Did your teammates from Spartak ask a lot of questions about Tampa?
M.S.: Yes, I would have asked too if I had this chance
A.B.: Have you changed anything in your training routine after participating at the development camp?
M.S.: Yes, I’m thinking more about balanced diet: more fruits, vegetables.
A.B.: Did they suggest you not eat meat?
M.S.: No, but our nutritionists have always been reminding me not to eat after 6 p.m. But I can since I’m skinny.
A.B.: During practice, you tried to score with a Kucherov no-shot move. Was it on purpose?
M.S.: Honestly, it’s not connected with us being from the same country. I tried it several times last year in Moscow and it always went well.
A.B.: Did the goalie say something to you?
M.S.: Maybe, I didn’t understand him anyway. The coaches laughed and approved it.
A.B.: What’s next for you?
M.S.: I’m joining the Lightning conditioning coach in Montreal at the end of July and going to prepare for next season.
A.B.: Does Spartak still have your rights in the KHL?
M.S.: Yes, I’ve talked to the team’s management lately, we talked and wished each other good luck. I’m still going to follow their results in the KHL.
This article is an original translation of the interview posted above. If you use quotes from this article, please credit Igor Nikonov of Raw Charge for the translation and HC Spartak as the original source of the interview. Thank you.