I think if you ask anybody well-versed in the Leafs blogosphere for their shortlist of most memorable articles to come out of it over the years, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t include Quinn MacKeen’s “In the Land of the Leafs, the One-Eyed Reporter is King“.

Written about a month after the 2015 draft, MacKeen uses his trademark eccentric, absurdist, perhaps slightly long-winded delivery to show you the layers that you miss by reading a single scouting report, or dialling in entirely on one season. It’s an article that’s about Dmytro Timashov, but it’s not about Dmytro Timashov; he’s the topical example to a bigger point.

It’s a great piece. Though, I find that when people reference it to me in conversation, they haven’t quite taken the message; instead, using it as the de-facto piece of work that proves that Dmytro Timashov will be a superstar, which as much as Quinn praises him in his piece, is almost the opposite of the point that the article was trying to make.

The real Timashov, Mysteron, Russian Rock, whatever you’d like to call him, is not the chosen one. But he’s still something worth keeping an eye on.

Age 20 (October 1, 1996) Birthplace Kirovograd, Ukraine
Pos Forward (LH) Drafted 2015 (Rd 5, Pick 125)
Vitals 5’10, 187lbs Acquired Via Draft

For those who didn’t read that piece and still haven’t, the meat of it that specifically pertains to Timashov is that he had two stellar seasons in two very different leagues before getting drafted. Timashov finished 2nd in U18 scoring in Sweden’s SuperElit junior league in his Draft -1 year, headed to the QMJHL, and in his first season in North America, finished 6th in U19 scoring, putting up a very impressive 19 goals and 71 assists in 66 games with Quebec.

The thing that diminishes this a little bit is his age. Specifically, the fact that he’s two weeks older than the draft cutoff, which means that when we’re saying U18 and U19, we mean “just barely” those things in his own case. Of course, that SuperElit season would have still been an impressive draft year, but not quite a historic one.

As well, while his second QMJHL season was still just as impressive as his first, many were hoping for an even higher gear to be found as he matured and got more comfortable. A player lauded as the league’s rookie of the year a season prior now looked like just another very good forward, making him a reasonable prospect to root for but not a subtle secret core member.

 AGE  SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP G A TP NHLe PIM +/-
15  2011-12  SDE HF J18  J18 Elit 17 10 13 23 17.8 37 12
15  Djurgårdens IF J18  J18 Allsvenskan 17 2 4 6 4.6 4 0
16  2012-13  Djurgårdens IF J18  J18 Elit 11 4 5 9 10.7 8 6
16  Djurgårdens / MODO  SuperElit 38 9 13 22 11.9 12 1
17  2013-14  MODO Hockey J20  SuperElit 40 12 29 41 21 18 9
17  MODO Hockey  SHL 3 0 1 1 18.3 0 -1
18  2014-15  Québec Remparts  QMJHL 66 19 71 90 28 54 17
19  2015-16  Québec / Shawinigan  QMJHL 57 22 63 85 30.6 79 27
20  2016-17  Toronto Marlies  AHL 63 11 13 24 14.7 32 -5

That leads us to this season, his first as a full-time pro. If we’re being honest about it, he didn’t have a particularly great year, occasionally finding himself among the scratches, not often earning himself minutes, and finishing last on the team in even-strength points per game. That’s not to say that they didn’t try to find him linemates throughout the year, as he spent time with the likes of Kasperi Kapanen, Trevor Moore, Andreas Johnsson, Brendan Leipsic, Byron Froese, and just about everyone they could attempt to find him chemistry with, but it never quite worked out with anyone.

To his credit, Timashov did seem to at least contribute to the flow of play as the season progressed, and when the Marlies lost some of their top forwards to injury in January and February, he made the most of his powerplay time, scoring over half (15) of his season-wide points in a 13 game stretch.

pGPSn pGPSs Exp. Success % Exp. P/82 Exp. Value
75 (17/31) 20 (13/31) 24.7% (13/31) 29.6 (17/31) 7.3 (12/31)

The above numbers are products of the Prospect Graduation Probabilities System (pGPS), created by Canucks Army to project a prospect’s odds of becoming an NHL regular. For a run-down on what each of these stats mean, head back to the introduction.

Timashov is in an interesting spot here, in the sense that pGPS gives him more of a chance at making the league than it did a year prior, but with less of an offensive upside. I suppose that’s what happens when you establish yourself as a young pro that can handle a full AHL season at 20, but not one who can dominate the league. If you subscribe to the theory that last year was more of a down year for him, he’s probably due for an uptick next year. Even still, he sits in the top half, maybe top third of this group according to the numbers and that’s nothing to scoff at.

Even with the down year in mind, it’s easy to see why fans get excited by the youngster. By no means is he imposing at 5’10, 187lbs, but he’s a very explosive skater when he wants to be and can stickhandle like few others. His knack for moving the puck around makes him a natural for a cycle system that has a finisher on the ice, and the flair that he delivers his talents with makes him must-see TV even when things aren’t going as well.

The Upcoming Year

Timashov will be returning to the Marlies this season, though it might be a bit early to speculate where exactly in the lineup he’ll slot. While an element of Top/Bottom 6 definitely exists, the team does tend to spread out the talent that they have in order to find combinations that compliment each other.

In Timashov’s case, he’ll likely be looking for a finisher. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up slotted on the third line with Ben Smith, who has been a significantly more efficient scorer at the AHL level than he has up top, giving Timashov a player who can both retrieve the puck and pull the trigger on his craftier passes.

Long-Term Outlook

Timashov became the unofficial rallying symbol of Toronto’s push to acquire raw talent, so it comes as no surprise that everybody is rooting for him to blossom out into a star forward.

With that said, it might be a little early to say what he really is. Last season came with some good and some bad, some flashes of what can be and some warning signs. The great news is that he’ll be just past his 21st birthday when he gets back at it again in a few weeks, and the team is in no rush to graduate him. He’s got years to figure out what exactly he is capable of being, whether its Nitro Mysteron or just regular ol’ Dmytro.

To see the other profiles in this year’s series, please reference the full list.

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