Islanders: What to Expect From Dmytro Timashov in 2020-21

Detroit Red Wings left wing Dmytro Timashov (Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)
Detroit Red Wings left wing Dmytro Timashov (Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) /

The New York Islanders acquired Dmytro Timashov from Detroit in mid-December for future considerations, but what kind of player is he?

The New York Islanders acquired RFA Dmytro Timashov from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for future considerations in mid-December. On Monday, Timashov skated with the first group at Islanders training camp, meaning he’s been signed to a contract. So who is Dmytro Timashov, and what kind of player is he?

Born in Ukraine, but having played his major European hockey in Sweden, Timashov made the jump to North America in 2014-15 for the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts. That year he posted a 90-point season in the predominantly offense-first Q with 71 assists to his name.

He was similarly strong in 2015-16, splitting the QMJHL season with the Remparts and Anthony Beauvillier’s Shawinigan Cataractes. With Beau and Timashov leading their offense, the Cataractes went all the way to the QMJHL finals. The two combined for 58 points in those playoffs.

Fits In Well

After three seasons with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, Timashov made his NHL debut with the Maple Leafs on opening night of the 2019-20 season.

He was placed on waivers in mid-February and subsequently picked up by Detroit. He only played in five games with the Red Wings before the NHL suspended its regular season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With his entry-level contract expiring, Detroit traded him to the Islanders for future considerations.

The first thing you may notice when looking at Timashov’s 2019-20 stats is his low point total. Especially playing on an offense-first Maple Leafs team, this may concern you. But, with context, Timashov’s limited ice time (an average of 8:32 per night for the season), his deployment as a bottom-six winger starting shifts mostly in the defensive zone, and the poor quality of teammates on his line can explain the low point totals.

In his The Athletic article titled “2019 NHL farm system rankings: No. 21 Toronto Maple Leafs” (subscription required), Corey Pronman criticized Timashov’s lack of “NHL quickness”. This scouting is corroborated by Corey Sznajder’s A3Z Performance Tool, which shows us that indeed Timashov was quite poor in transition. Entering the other team’s zone with control of the puck less than 87% of players league-wide.

Timashov’s shot contributions according to A3Z are also quite poor, showing that his passes lead to a shot less often than 76% of other passers league-wide.

What the fancy stats are telling us is that Timashov is a limited player offensively at 5v5. His passing is not particularly dangerous, and his underlying metrics are indicative of a forward who will likely have to carve out a niche in his own zone at the NHL level.

Defensive acumen can be difficult to account for. It can be tempting to rely on blocked shots, hits, +/-, or TOI to measure a defenseman’s value to a team. But, at the NHL level, what doesn’t happen can be just as crucial, if not more, than what does. A defensive player’s stick is in a passing lane, so that pass isn’t attempted.

Patrick Bacon and JFresh Hockey’s WAR (Wins Above Replacement) model captures this by measuring how a player, in isolation, impacts his team’s scoring chances against prevention. The model rates Timashov as an average 5v5 player defensively.

According to Arthur Staple in “Islanders camp kicks off with a few highlights and without Mathew Barzal” (subscription required), Barry Trotz has praised Timashov. Saying: “He’s not a big player, but he’s a physically strong player with a lot of upside who can play multiple positions,” he also added that the player fits in well.

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So there are positives there. Timashov may not project to be an every night player, and that’s okay if he can come into the lineup when needed and consistently fill a role. With a congested NHL schedule, the Islanders can use a cheap bottom-six forward to plug in into the roster. It’ll keep their bottom-six better rested, and hopefully, result in fewer injuries and an Islanders team at full strength more often.