Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Shakir Mukhamadullin.
Russian teams are normally patient with their young defenceman, and it is rare to see an NHL draft-eligible defenceman, especially one in his 17-year-old season get much ice time in the KHL. While Shakir Mukhamadullin did not play big minutes for Salavat Yulayev in the KHL, the very fact he got 27 games and two playoff games is impressive. He put up two points in that time. Mukhamadullin was also part of their squad at the Spengler Cup. In addition, he played 1 game in the VHL, Russia’s second-highest men’s League. Mukhamadullin did most of his damage in the MHL though, the Russian Under-20 league. In 13 games he scored two goals and eight assists for 10 points.
Mukhamadullin has also thrived on the international stage. He was part of the Russian team at the 2018 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge, winning gold. He was also part of the gold medal-winning team at the 2019 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, and the silver medal-winning team at the 2019 IIHF Under 18 World Championship. Mukhamadullin scored the game-winning goal, in double overtime, giving Russia their first-ever tournament win at the 2019 World Junior A Challenge.
Shakir Mukhamadullin Scouting Report
Defence — shoots Left
Born January 10th, 2002 — Ufa, Russia
Height 6’4″ — Weight 178 lbs [193 cm / 81 kg]
Mukhamadullin is listed at 6-foot-4. He is an excellent skater for his size. He has good speed and acceleration in both directions, allowing Mukhamadullin to get around the ice and play a 200-foot game. His agility and edgework are also good for a big player. He is able to change directions and move well laterally. Mukhamadullin also has smooth pivots, allowing him to transition quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. He could stand to get stronger though, as he is a bit lanky right now. This will help him to fight through checks and win battles on the boards. He is good at this when facing his own age group, but playing against men, you can see the need to add strength. It should come as he matures though.
Mukhamadullin has a big shot at the point. His slap shot and one-timer is an absolute cannon. However, he has some issues with control, as he can get wild at times. He could also stand to keep it lower as this will increase the chances of him getting it on net through traffic, as well as give his teammates more opportunities for deflections and rebounds. Mukhamadullin also has a powerful wrist shot but can learn to use it more often.
Mukhamadullin is also a good passer. He has good vision and can make smart plays from the point as well as start the transition game with his first pass. He handles the puck well and is poised at the line, using his agility to move laterally and open up those shooting and passing lanes. His strong skating and puck handling skills also allow him to retrieve pucks in the corners and skate them out of danger, avoiding forecheckers.
Mukhamadullin is willing to use his size to play a physical game. He is also willing to battle along the boards and in front of the net. This comes out a lot in watching him at the junior level, but less so in the KHL. That is natural as Mukhamadullin needs to continue to put muscle on a tall, lanky frame. It should come with maturity. He has a long stick which he uses to cut down passing and shooting lanes and create turnovers. Once a turnover is created, Mukhamadullin is quick to move that puck up the ice. His positioning and reading of the play are still a bit inconsistent. There are times when he is great, and other times he looks lost. Continued coaching and experience will help him in this area.
Projection and Comparison
The combination Mukhamadullin’s size, skating ability, offensive tools, and physicality are intriguing. He could grow into an all-situations defenceman playing big minutes. He will likely be back in the KHL next year as Elite Prospects indicates that his contract runs through the 2021-22 season. Mukhamadullin should gain more responsibility and minutes in Russia before he comes over to North America. While he will likely never have the offensive game to be a true #1 defenceman, he could grow into an effective #2 or #3 with time. Mukhamadullin’s game is reminiscent of Nikita Zadorov, though this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Shakir Mukhamadullin that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Shakir Mukhamadullin Main Photo:
PLYMOUTH, MI – DECEMBER 11: Shakir Mukhamadullin #27 of the U17 Russian Nationals passes the puck against the Switzerland Nationals during day one of game one of the 2018 Under-17 Four Nations Tournament at USA Hockey Arena on December 11, 2018, in Plymouth, Michigan. Russia defeated Switzerland 9-1. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)