The Detroit Red Wings had a relatively quiet trade deadline, aside from their two transactions with Ken Holland and the Edmonton Oilers. However, they did make an under-the-radar acquisition, picking up forward Dmytro Timashov off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Who is Timashov,and what has his career looked like so far? Is he capable of making an impact in the final stretch of the 2019-20 season? Here’s a look.
Timashov’s Junior Career
Before coming to North America, Timashov played in the Swedish junior system. He posted respectable numbers at the U16 and U18 levels but opened eyes in the 2013-14 season with Modo’s U20 team. He tallied 41 points in 40 games as a 17-year-old and earned a three-game stint with Modo’s professional squad in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL).
Timashov came to North America in the 2014-15 season, which was also his draft year. He joined the Quebec Remparts in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and performed better than anyone anticipated.
He exploded for 19 goals and 71 assists in 66 games, running away with the QMJHL Rookie of the Year honor. His production dipped a bit in the playoffs, tallying 18 points in 22 games, but it was a highly impressive campaign nonetheless.
Following his breakout year, the Toronto Maple Leafs selected Timashov with the 125th pick of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. He returned to the QMJHL for the 2015-16 season, picking up where he left off with 85 points in 57 games split between the Remparts and the Shawinigan Cataracts.
Timashov also starred for Sweden at the 2016 World Junior Championship, registering two goals and five assists in seven games. The tenacious winger then finished his time in the QMJHL by recording 28 points in 21 playoff contests en route to a loss in the championship series.
Growing Pains in the AHL
Timashov did not garner a ton of hype, but the Maple Leafs were hoping they had discovered a diamond in the rough. The 5-foot-10 winger was an avid forechecker and shifty skater, but scouts were unsure whether or not his offensive game would translate to the next level.
During his first two seasons with the Toronto Marlies in the American Hockey League (AHL), these concerns became prevalent. Timashov struggled to score, with 58 points in 130 regular-season games. Many young players struggle to adjust to the rigors of the AHL, but it seemed that Timashov’s potential was diminishing.
Thankfully, he ended the 2017-18 season with a productive playoff run, culminating in a Calder Cup championship. Likewise, in his third season with the Marlies, he showed promise. He notched 49 points in 72 games while blossoming into one of the team’s young leaders, although the season had some rocky patches.
Timashov was a healthy scratch for three games due to his inconsistency. He was the best player on the ice for one game, but unnoticeable in the next two. Nevertheless, the 2018-19 season was generally a positive one which gave him the confidence boost he needed heading into training camp with the Maple Leafs before the 2019-20 season.
A Surprising Roster Spot
Timashov was generally expected to start the 2019-20 season in the AHL, but he shined throughout camp. While he was not lighting the world on fire with his offense, his skating looked dynamic, and his instincts impressed the coaching staff. Even though the Maple Leafs had one of the stronger forward cores in the NHL, Timashov earned a spot on the roster, (from ‘Timashov earns a spot with the Leafs; Moore’s shorthanded offence a bonus,’ Toronto Sun, 09/30/2019).
While he must have been thrilled to make his NHL debut, his opportunity was limited. With so many dynamic wingers in front of him on the depth chart, it was hard to escape a fourth-line role. Timashov was averaging 8:06 per game through 39 appearances and was a scratched from the lineup several times.
That’s not to say he deserved more ice time. Many of his underlying metrics were average at best, but it would have been interesting to see what he could do with more talented linemates. He only recorded nine points in 39 games on the fourth line.
One of the areas in which he truly shined was his physical play. Despite limited ice time, the 23-year-old still ranks third on the Maple Leafs with 83 hits. Unquestionably, this was where Timashov provided the most value, especially on a team that is not very physical.
Expectations with the Red Wings
Timashov will become a restricted free agent at the end of this season, and he has 15 games left to prove himself to the Red Wings. Head coach Jeff Blashill noted that over this final portion of the season, he wants “to see what [Timashov]’s all about.”
Timashov made his Red Wings debut on Feb. 29 against the Ottawa Senators. He showcased his physical prowess by registering five hits in 11 minutes of ice time. Interestingly, he has not been able to practice with the team due to visa issues, but he has been skating on his own. So, it’s hard to know exactly how the coaching staff plans on using him.
Above all else, Timashov is annoying to play against, and that is something the Red Wings have been missing throughout this dismal season. He has shown a consistent willingness to hit at the NHL level. Likewise, he is a dynamic skater, which leads to his aggressive pursuit of opposing defensemen on the forecheck.
As he gets more acclimated to the team, hopefully, his role will increase, and his offensive spark will reignite. At the very least, Timashov was a risk-free acquisition by general manager Steve Yzerman. If he fails to prove himself, the team can move on.
Hopefully, Timashov uses the opportunity to get his NHL career back on track and, in turn, the Red Wings gain another legitimate asset to help fuel the rebuild. He will be worth watching throughout the remainder of the season.