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2021 Raw Charge Top 25 Under 25: #15 Maxim Groshev

This will be a big year for the big forward with some skills

IHOCKEY-EURO-SWE-RUS-FIN Photo by ANDERS BJURO/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images

Maxim Groshev is an interesting study in draft pick expectations. He was drafted in the third round of the 2020 NHL Draft and is a large, decent skating forward. What it appears he isn’t, is a goal scorer. As you can see from his stats last season, in 35 KHL games he recorded just one goal. Granted he was an 18/19-year-old playing in the top Russian professional league, but still you would hope for more than one goal from him.

Groshev is, by all accounts, a hard worker who is responsible in his own zone. He skates well and uses his size (6’1”, 192 lbs) to protect the puck when he has it. He has surprising quickness and likes to generate offense off of the rush. He forechecks fairly well and uses his body to create turnovers in the offensive zone. The youngster can put the puck on net with a fairly heavy shot, but isn’t going to beat many goaltenders from distance with it.

He isn’t going to really drive offense on his own, but will fill in as a nice complimentary player that projects to be a middle-to-bottom six forward in the NHL. From what has been said about him, and the highlights that have been generated so far, it seems he’ll be a pretty solid fit as a defensive forward/penalty killer.

Just last November he signed a three-year contract with SKA St. Petersburg so he will likely be there for at least one more season, and longer if they don’t work out some sort of transfer. That may not be a bad thing. Even if he plays out all three seasons, he’s still relatively young and would have accumulated multiple seasons in one of the most competitive professional leagues on earth.

As you can see on this goal, Groshev’s acceleration is a little more than the opposing defender was expecting. He then uses his body to shield the puck as he draws it to his backhand and shuffles it past the goaltender.

Here he wins a battle along the boards in the offensive zone and then moves to the center of the ice (again, keeping his body between the puck and his opposition) and rips a backhander right on net. It was a nice little move to find the open space and get the shot off. Overall, despite spending most of the time on the fourth line during the World Juniors, he had a pretty strong tournament and showcased what Lightning fans can expect out of him.

Here’s one more.

You know who’s offense loves long stretch passes? The Tampa Bay Lightning’s.

Groshev could be one of those players that sees his offensive output jump when he joins the Lightning or Crunch. They like to build their offense out from solid defense and that’s what he provides. Ben Groulx or Jon Cooper may give him a little more ice time due to his diligence and with the right linemates he could rack up a few assists or find himself in good position to pot a few easy goals. Think of him like a middle-class Ondrej Palat.

The best thing for him this season is to make the regular rotation for SKA St. Petersburg and play regular minutes in their line-up. The good news is that he’s appeared in one game this season so far and picked up an assist already.