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Tampa Bay Lightning Top 25 Under 25: #15 - Max Groshev

Third year in a row at 15th position

SKA Hockey Club player, Maxim Groshev (No.28) seen in action... Photo by Maksim Konstantinov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Maxim Groshev has been in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization since the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, where he was selected as the 85th overall pick. Over this span he entered our ranking three times, ending up at the 15th place in each year. That pretty sums up his career path, as a 20-year-old Russian forward didn’t live up to expectations and hasn’t showed a lot of progress over the past years yet.

Last year was supposed to be the year when Groshev made another step forward, becoming if not a regular player in the KHL, at least a depth player with couple of dozens games in the league. A year before Groshev was acquired by the SKA St. Petersburg, one of the powerhouses of the KHL. That season was quite successful for him — he played in 17 games in the KHL with his old team Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk and 18 more games with SKA after his trade. In those 35 games he scored just one goal and two assist, but for a 19-year-old player, playing in one of the strongest leagues in the world, that wasn’t that worrisome. That season he even played at the World Juniors with the Russian team, scoring two assists in seven games at the tournament.

Eventually the 2021-22 season turned out to be a step back for Groshev. Starting the season as a healthy scratch, he played in just three regular season games and one playoff game with the SKA, averaging less than five minutes per game. Most of the time Groshev spent in the VHL — the Russian analogue of the AHL, where he recorded 12 (1+11) points in 16 games. His scoring rate increased in the playoffs, where he scored seven goals in 17 games, helping his team to reach the semifinals.

Part of the reason why Groshev is struggling is mismanagement in the SKA organization. After the years when SKA was one of the most dominant teams in the league, attracting the biggest available stars, the organization has suddenly changed their strategy and are now focusing on acquiring the most talented younger players in the KHL. Their bench became too big to keep everyone on the squad and Groshev, unlike his teammate and number 23 in our ranking Daniil Pylenkov, hadn’t made the cut and was sent to lower leagues.

We will see if the situation changes this year. Groshev has played two games so far in the KHL. His time on the ice also jumped to around nine minutes per game, which is a promising sign.

Speaking of Groshev as a player, many experts have agreed that he has a talent to play in the NHL someday. He’s quick and can create offense off the rush. He has also a decent shot and a high-level passing ability. He also plays a physical hockey, can be useful on forecheck or penalty kill units. The only thing that keeps him to became closer to the NHL is really his inconsistent usage in the KHL.