A Year Later, Shakir Mukhamadullin's NHL upside is more evident than ever before
With the pandemic pushing the 2020 NHL Draft to October, teams were afforded an early glimpse into the improvement of many prospects as they started their draft-plus-one year.
Enter Shakir Mukhamadullin.
Mukhamadullin was seen as a mid-to-late second-round pick in many circles, both public and private. He was entirely omitted from several public rankings, including EliteProspects, because of his poor execution and pace. Presumably persuaded by his impressive start in the KHL with Salavat Yulaev Ufa, the new general manager Tom Fitzgerald and the New Jersey Devils decided he was worth the 20th overall pick. (A pick later, they were one-upped by the Columbus Blue Jackets, taking Yegor Chinakhov, a re-entry winger.)
Draft-day reaches like Mukhamadullin are always an interesting case study. They provide, arguably, the clearest explanation for what a scouting staff or team values at the draft table. Plenty of so-called reaches end up working out, often because one team had information that others didn’t. Many times, they fail spectacularly.
So, let’s check in on Mukhamadullin’s progress and see if the Devils were right to take him with the 20th overall pick.
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