2015-16 Team: Red Deer Rebels (#5)
Date of Birth: May 5, 1998
Place of Birth: St. Albert, AB
Ht: 6’0″ Wt: 170 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2016 first-year eligible
THW The Next Ones Ranking: 80th (June)
- THW Alternate: 73rd (June)
- THW War Room: 194th (May)
- Future Considerations: unranked (June)
- ISS: unranked (June)
- Bob McKenzie: unranked (June)
- Craig Button: 69th (June)
The 2015-16 season began with great promise for defender Josh Mahura. Coming off a promising rookie season with the Red Deer Rebels that saw him play 51 games and not look a bit out of place, he had a strong Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and seemed poised for a strong draft-eligible season (and a Memorial Cup appearance).
Then he suffered a knee injury in the first weekend of the season that required surgery and cost him the next 70 games of the regular season. Despite all of that, Mahura’s performance for the Rebels in the postseason didn’t at all resemble a sophomore who had missed 90 percent of the season. Instead, he acted like a key late-season addition for the Rebels, chipping in and playing in most situations.
Mahura was not ranked on the NHL’s Central Scouting final listing due to a lack of views, but he got a lot of looks from NHL clubs at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament and Hockey Canada’s try-out camp in the summer. He’s got a fairly big frame but he moves really well. He’s got a very good shot from the point and he distributes the puck well. He’s not an incredible physical specimen, but he’s definitely got room to grow and mature, and he already asserts himself well in a WHL that’s well-known for its mixture of big bodies and really fast, smaller forwards.
In a sense, Mahura’s in a similar situation to Vancouver Giants forward Tyler Benson. Both players lost a ton of time this season, but Mahura suffered a single injury (compared to Benson’s recurring malady) and managed to come back to finish the season with a strong playoff showing. If he can continue his progression and have a good showing at the Mastercard Memorial Cup in Red Deer, he could cement himself as one of the better “dark-horse” prospects in this year’s draft.
Mahura may be the most talented player in the 2016 draft class that nobody got much of a chance to see. He could be a really strong addition to any club’s prospect base.
NHL Draft Projection:
Mahura could go as high as the late second round based on the strength of his rookie season in the WHL and his recent playoff success, but it’s more likely he goes sometime in the third round. There’s definitely some interest in him, as he was one of the 114 players invited to the NHL’s draft combine; the list is put together with the input of scouts from the NHL’s member clubs.
Rebels D Josh Mahura is one of 114 players invited to the 2016 NHL Scouting Combine, in Buffalo from May 30 to June 4 #Rebelshockey
— Troy Gillard (@Troy_Gillard) May 9, 2016
— Jim of Rebel Nation (@RDRebelNation) April 11, 2016
- Strong shot from the point.
- Good passer.
- Good mobility.
- Effective 200-foot presence.
Under Construction (Improvements to Make):
- His consistency could use a bit of work, both game-to-game and within games.
- He’s fairly effective in corner battles, but needs a bit more size and aggression to his game.
Mahura projects as a second- or third-pairing defender. He could become something like Alex Edler or Johnny Boychuk in terms of becoming a good puck-moving blueliner.
Risk – 1/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
Offensive 7/10, Defensive 8/10
Mahura represented Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, winning gold. He was named to Canada White for the World Under-17 Challenge, but he missed the tournament due to injury.
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.