Final Look At New Jersey Devils Prospects At World Junior Championships

EDMONTON, AB - JANUARY 05: The United States team celebrates its victory over Canada during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship gold medal game at Rogers Place on January 5, 2021 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - JANUARY 05: The United States team celebrates its victory over Canada during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship gold medal game at Rogers Place on January 5, 2021 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
Shakir Mukhamadullin #17 of Russia. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

Team Russia – Shakir Mukhamadullin

Okay, this one is complicated.

Shakir Mukhamadullin was public enemy number one from the prospect analysis community. This is weird, because he seemed like he passed everything but the eye test, and this community is largely based on digging deep into the numbers. Mukhamadullin was fine when looking at his game as a whole. He was great in the transition game, and his zone exits were ranked among the best defensemen in the tournament.

However, he made some of the worst mistakes of any player at World Juniors. He made multiple terrible plays that directly led to goals. It didn’t help that Yaroslav Askarov was not at his peak, but his defensemen needed to do more to take the stress off of him. Mukhamadullin took chances away from the other team overall, but he had some glaring issues that have to get fixed.

It’s clear the Devils need to get Mukhamadullin out of Russia as fast as possible. The Devils shouldn’t overreact to one tournament, but these types of mistakes don’t just fix themselves. He needs the best coaching in the world to get to the next level. He’d be so much better off if he came to Binghamton next season to develop than he would be playing another season in the KHL.

This tournament as a whole should have looked really good for Mukhamadullin. He stayed on Russia’s top line the entire time. There were times where he shut the other team down with a great poke check or athletic maneuver. His decision making leaves a lot to be desired, but to say his tournament was “bad” is also not true. He looked like a boom or bust player at this point, but an 18 year old who is still developing on the blue line needs to know when the “boom” is worth the risk.