The expression “a diamond in the rough” means that someone (or something) has hidden exceptional characteristics, but lacks the final touches that would make them (or it) truly stand out from the crowd.
I remember watching the Quebec Remparts play early on in the regular season and seeing a little player buzzing around the ice, creating opportunities every shift and making the other team look real silly at some points. I asked myself “who the flip is this kid?” After doing a little research and watching more of his games, I was amazed and knew he was a special player. Fast forward to June 27th, 2015, things got a whole lot better.
The NHL entry draft can be looked at as a journey. You do a lot of preparing before leaving, but no matter how prepared you think you are, you end up getting lost or have a tough decision to make on your way to your destination. Although the 2015 draft was very deep, scouts and executives from across the league still had to do their homework and make a decision on which “path” to take, if that path is available. It may be like that for the early parts of the journey as well but the route selections aren’t as sure fire or “no brainers” once it gets into the later rounds.
Having picked six times in the first four rounds, the Leafs entered the fifth round with the 125th pick and continued the new trend of drafting small and skilled players by selecting Quebec Remparts forward, Dmytro Timashov.
Dmytro Timashov is a natural left winger but can also play on the right. He has exceptional speed, hands and shiftiness which allow him to create space and use his skillset to open up opportunities for himself and his teammates while on the ice. His playmaking abilities along with his skillset make him an incredibly fun player to watch.
In the 2014-15 season, Timashov played led the Quebec Remparts in scoring (19-71-90) in 66 games and received the QMJHL rookie of the year award. He was also nominated for CHL rookie of the year but lost out to Erie Otters forward Alex DeBrincat. The Remparts also made it to the QMJHL final last year vs the Rimouski Oceanic but lost in double-overtime in game 7 where Timashov put up an impressive 18 pts (3-15) in 22 games. Although they lost a heartbreaker in the final, the Remparts were able to keep playing meaningful hockey as they hosted the Mastercard Memorial Cup where Timashov continued to shine with four pts (3-1) in five games. Timashov finished with 112 points (25-87) in 93 games, not bad for a first season. The young Swede likes to model his game after Martin St. Louis due to his small stature but great skillset. To me, the young Swede compares to Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello and Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau. Take that however you’d like.
With all that being said, the question remains: What were the final touches that Timashov lacked that separated him from the players drafted in the higher rounds? Well, due to the simple fact that I’m not really an executive in the league, I’m afraid I don’t have the answer to that. But my answer would be his size, defensive awareness and lack of goals in a high scoring league. Although I don’t find 15 goals in a season terrible, especially for a rookie, my assumption is that scouts were likely looking for more out of a player like Timashov. As for his size, he stands at 5’9” and weighs 189lbs which is small but not concerning. Especially considering another part of Timashov’s game is his willingness to do the dirty work in the corners and hard to knock off the puck. His lack of awareness in his own end isn’t concerning at the moment. That part of his game will change overtime as he takes on a bigger role with the Remparts as well as when he possibly ends up playing under Keefe and Babcock.
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Since I like to think I know what I’m talking about, I will give you readers some information on Timashov from different reports:
Timashov is an offensive winger with very good vision. He’s undersized but strong on his skates and hard to get off the puck. Has a good set of tools to generate and create offense. Good speed and quickness. Plays best in open ice. Decision-making needs to be quicker, he sometimes holds on to the puck too long. Good quickness, is very elusive. Lacks explosiveness. Aware defensively, not sure on how his game will translate at the next level.
- ISS Hockey scouting report
Dmytro Timashov had a CHL import year that made Quebec look bright for selecting the Swedish raised Ukrainian and giving them a new layer of firepower. Beating some pretty big names with 1.36PPG this draft year [Barzal, Sprong], it wasn’t a surprise to see considering he PPG’d the SuperElit in his pre-draft year with MODO. With a heavily slanted stat profile towards assists [79% of PTS were assists], his game is all about high speed, high end deking, extreme creation, and a shot that isn’t as weak as you would think. A skater who gets out of bed in 6th gear, he is always pushing the play at max speed. With a long, wandering stride that kicks up a bit, he uses a lot of max speed to stop patterns to evade forecheckers and make his plays. You can guess that his passing is above average because of the lanes his skating opens up for him. Needing to rewire his thinking from being strictly a setup man, he has a strong snap and wrist shot that can totally change his impact on the ice if he steps outside his comfort zone more and shoots. He likes to lean into his checks too much to try to draw a penalty, and plays too wildly in last second attempts to make opponents miss. The way Timashov has dealt with physicality puts quite a bit of risk on his helmet, but that won’t take away from the pure speed and skill he operates with.
- DraftBuzz scouting report
“He has a lot of speed, a lot of skill. He’s got so much skill and so much potential. This is his draft year so he’s got something to prove.”
- Remparts teammate Adam Erne
Here is a highlight video of Timashov from the 2014-2015 season:
Like every player, Timashov has his strengths and weaknesses. Although I’d say he has more strengths than weaknesses and I do really like him as a player, I’m well aware that Timashov will play out his junior years in the QMJHL and maybe a couple of seasons with the Marlies before he’s ready to play in the big leagues. However, i’ve been wrong plenty of times before and I hope I am again this time.
I wrote this piece because I was amazed when I watched this young man play, and I wanted to fill Leafs nation in on what we had picked up. When the Leafs drafted him, I was extremely excited and knew we were in for a treat when we get the opportunity to see him play more often. Did I mention we drafted him in the fifthth round? Of course I did, but the pick was so nice I have to say it twice.
The new team of Leaf executives and scouts completed their first journey together and although they may not have taken the safest way home, they made it home safe.
“How was your trip with your work today, Mark?”
“It went well. Got a little shaky halfway through, but we found this hanging around!”
“Wow, It’s gorgeous! You know that can be worth a lot if you sell it, right?”
“Yup, it is. But there’s no way I’m getting rid of this anytime soon. I better to put it somewhere safe for now. It’s got a couple of dirt spots, I’ll show the others when it’s polished and shines bright!”
You guessed it. During their journey, the Leafs found a diamond in the rough, Dmytro Timashov.