Dominik Masin is a very unusual entry on our list. He has been with the organization since being drafted in 2014, and almost every year made our Top 25 Under 25 ranking. He played top minutes for the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL, but never played a single game for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL.
In October the Lightning issued qualifying offers to several players, including Dominik Masin. His offer had expired on October 18 and he didn’t use his right for arbitration, which means that his future in the Lightning organization is very questionable. The Lightning still retain his rights, but I would be very surprised if he returns back to Syracuse.
Last summer Masin signed a contract with HC Amur Khabarovsk from the KHL. The team has several Czech players, including Michal Jordan and Marek Langhamer, who played earlier in the NHL, which should have helped him to adopt in the NHL. His first month in the KHL presented some complications: after playing in four games and putting up three points, he was placed on the injury list. His team didn't disclose specifics of his injury, but he missed almost a month and returned just about two weeks ago. So far in nine overall games in the Russian league he recorded three points, playing a very impressive 24:18 minutes per game.
The writers’ voting on Dominik Masin are split this time: some of our writers ranked him at 15th place, which is similar to last year’s ranking; some of us, including me, left him completely out of the ranking. At this point I don’t believe he will ever play in the NHL, at least not with the Tampa Bay Lightning and shouldn’t be considered as a prospect. At the age of 24, European players who never made the NHL usually choose another destination rather than staying in the AHL. In the KHL he will likely make more money and will have a chance to play for the national team.
The readers’ voting wasn't very consistent on him, with more leaning to the middle of the ranking. He ended up 15th by the readers opinion.
Last season fell in the same category as every previous one: Dominik Masin played a huge amount of minutes, effectively killed penalties and did everything what is expected from a shutdown defenceman. He also helped a little on offense: in 59 games he recorded 16 points, which is a very decent number for a player with his style of play. Compared to the previous season, he scored more points despite playing ten less games due to a shortened regular season. Masin is also a very penalized player: last season he had 79 PIM in 59 games, but it’s expected from a player who is mostly in the ice against a top competition.
Hardev, who covered Masin for our ranking in 2018 and 2019, was pretty high on him both times, pointing out his good positional play, his skating and ability to play at a high defensive line. I think it’s still relevant in 2020 [Raw Charge]
Shifting gears to how Masin actually plays, well, he plays the way you pronounce his name: a machine. 6’2” and between 190 and 200lbs depending on who you ask, Masin is a big boy. Masin’s big frame was used consistently in front of the net on the penalty kill and when defending a lead. He will only get stronger as he puts on a few adult pounds.
A surprisingly capable skater in all three zones, Masin plays a modern European defensive style that encourages jumping up in the rush and playing a high defensive line. Some props need to go to skating coach Barb Underhill for doing such a great job with the big boys on defense in the Lightning system.
Last season the Syracuse Crunch faced several problems, including injuries to their significant players Nolan Valleau and Patrick Sieloff, which meant what Masin’s role within the team rapidly increased. However he indicated that he’s very capable of this duty. At the same time though, another Lightning defensive prospect Cal Foote already showed that he could bring more impact to the Tampa Bay Lightning, despite being three years younger.
Masin’s departure also leaves the Crunch in a very unpleasant position before the start of the next regular season. The team already parted ways with Valleau and Sieloff and didn’t re-sign Cameron Gaunce who had been a significant player last seasons for the Crunch. The Crunch currently have seven blueliners under the contract, including Cal Foote and Luke Witkowski, who could be used in the Tampa Bay Lightning at some point of the season. They also signed new players such as Alex Green, Sean Day, Dmitri Semykin and Andreas Borgman, these players are expected to fill the holes in the Crunch roster. While Andreas Borgman is an experienced player with history of playing in the NHL for the Toronto Maple Leafs, three other newly-signed players never played in a big role in the AHL.
As strange as it sounds, Dominik Masin probably had a disadvantage of being in a very successful and result oriented organization such as the Tampa Bay Lightning. I could imagine him playing as a third-pair defenceman in many others franchises in the league, but the Lightning recently had been trying everything possible to bring the Stanley Cup to Tampa and instead of giving Masin an ice time in the NHL, signed some experienced players as Kevin Shattenkirk and Luke Schenn, who could bring an immediate impact to the team. As we can see, that strategy eventually paid off. However the third pairing is probably Masin’s ceiling in the NHL.
If he does stay in Europe Dominik Masin’s departure doesn’t necessary mean that he didn’t leave a footprint in the Lightning organization. He played a big role in a development of Erik Cernak, who became a top four Lightning defenceman and lifted the Stanley Cup about two months ago. Masin also played some time with Cal Foote, who’s expected to be the next Lightning prospect to break their roster.