Not making the postseason roster may have been the last straw for Tampa Bay Lightning prospect defenseman Dominik Masin. The 24-year-old, an impending restricted free agent this off-season, will be signing in the KHL. Amur Khabarovsk have announced on their official Instagram page, accompanied by a highlight reel, that they have come to terms on a contract with Masin. The terms were not disclosed.
Masin, a 2014 second-round pick, was at one time a top prospect for the Bolts. Tampa Bay selected the sturdy second-round pick out of the Czech Republic and he then went on to play for the OHL’s Peterborough Petes, who used a first-round pick in the CHL Import Draft to acquire his rights. Masin graduated to the pros in 2016 and has quietly been a key contributor for the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch in that time. Masin has recorded 58 points and +58 rating in 273 games with Syracuse, including a +36 rating in 2018-19 that was second-best in the entire AHL.
Yet, Masin has zero NHL appearances on his resume and has been blocked from opportunity by a Lightning team that has prioritized veteran depth on the blue line rather than promoting prospects. As a result, it is hard to predict how Masin will fare in the KHL and whether an NHL comeback may be realistic for him down the road. His performance in the minors shows good defensive ability and modest offensive ability, which could be enough for a top role on an Amur team that is lacking in star power. Whether he can make the most of that opportunity and boost his stock for a return to North America remains to be seen. The Lightning can retain his rights by issuing him a qualifying offer this off-season.