2019-20 Team: Tolpar Ufa (MHL)
Date of Birth: Jan. 10, 2002
Place of Birth: Ufa, Russia
Ht: 6’2” Wt: 170 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 18th (among EU Skaters)
- THW Josh Bell’s Rankings: 106th
- THW Andrew Forbes’ March Rankings: 50th
- THW Larry Fisher’s March Rankings: 63rd
- ISS: 22nd
- Dobber Prospects Mid-Season Rankings: 39th (among EU skaters)
- Sporting News: 21st
With size, smarts and a great shot, Russian defenseman Shakir Mukhamadullin has everything that an NHL franchise looks for in a blue-chip defensive prospect. Over the last season, Mukhamadullin made massive strides in showcasing why he should be considered one of the top defensive prospects at the 2020 Draft.
Most notably, he played 27 games in the KHL for Salavat Yulaev Ufa, giving him meaningful ice time against some of the top talents across Europe. Mukhamadullin also has experience playing in various U20 international tournaments, registering more than 60 games with team Russia since 2017-18.
All of this experience mixed with Mukhamadullin’s intangibles could make him one of the most desirable defensemen at the draft. After all, he is already holding his own playing against men in the KHL, so he may be ready to start taking on NHL ice time far sooner than normal for someone his age.
Shakir Mukhamadullin – NHL Draft Projection
Despite having many of the intangibles of a first-round defenseman, Mukhamadullin’s draft outlook is murkier than expected. His rankings are all over the board, with some scouts ranking him as a mid to late first-rounder, while others see him falling as far as the third.
Given the value placed on defensemen with top-pairing potential, however, it’s difficult to imagine Mukhamadullin falling past the mid-second round. Also, expect his stock to rise as the draft approaches, due to his experience in the KHL at such a young age.
With all of this in mind, it would make sense for a franchise with multiple first-round picks, like the New York Rangers or Ottawa Senators, to take a swing on Mukhamadullin during round one in hopes of finding that perfect blue-chip prospect.
A dominant board player, Mukhamadullin won’t force plays up the ice and instead wait for the right breakout option to present itself. He’s not offensively-minded, but he does have a heavy and hard shot from the point.LaurenKelly24 – Rawcharge.com
Mukhamadullin is a crease clearer and one-on-one eraser who has spent most of his draft year with Ufa of the KHL — and holding his own against premier competition. You can make a strong argument that he’s the most polished of any draft-eligible defenseman with his versatility in all situations helping to boost his value.Steve Kourianos – Sporting News
Mukhamadullin’s defensive game was pretty good for this level but his offensive game just doesn’t stand out the way it should. And that has been mostly the case in league play as well.Jokke Nevalainen – Dobber Prospects
- Experience playing in the KHL.
- Plays strong in his own zone.
- Good skillset to continue building upon.
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Needs to improve the offensive side of his game.
- Skating is not NHL caliber.
Related THW Draft Profiles
2018-19 U17 WHC Gold Medal
2018-19 U18 WJC Silver Medal
Even if Mukhamadullin fails to reach his full potential, his size and toolkit alone should allow him to become a bottom-pairing defenseman. However, if he reaches that potential, he could be a dominant top-pairing defender by the time he hits his mid-twenties.
Related: THW’s 2020 Draft Guide
As always, defensemen are hard to predict, so there’s a chance that his game may not translate, but that risk appears somewhat low. Barring injury trouble, he should reach the NHL in three to four years, if not sooner.
3/5 Risk, 5/5 Reward
If Mukhamadullin is selected in the mid to late first round, there’s some risk involved with that pick. However, if he falls to the second or even the third round, he would be an absolute steal.
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.