Maxim Mamin came back to the Florida Panthers after spending parts of the past three seasons in the KHL.
It was a successful return.
Mamin, who originally left when the Panthers assigned him to Springfield of the AHL in 2018, played a nice depth role on a deep Florida team.
Now a free agent, Mamin would be welcomed back to the Panthers — perhaps with a bigger role moving forward.
Mamin ended up playing 40 games this season, the victim at times of a numbers game on a team loaded with forwards.
Although mostly playing on the fourth line when he did play, Mamin also found himself playing up in the top six.
His size, speed and hands allowed the Panthers some flexibility on where they played him.
Early in the season, Mamin spent seven games in Charlotte with the AHL team and when he came back, he did not play a whole lot.
The Panthers, although they did not say so, appeared to be keeping Mamin out of the lineup to give themselves some roster flexibility heading into the trade deadline.
With Anton Lundell hurt, however, he got back in and passed the threshold for games played without having to pass through waivers.
“We are kind of blessed with as many good players as we have,” Andrew Brunette said.
“Mams, to come in and play at that level was pretty remarkable considering the time he missed. We know what he can do. There is a little issue of consistency but these are nights where you’re like ‘wow.’ Hopefully he can follow that up.”
In the end, Mamin ended up having a nice return to the NHL.
In 40 games played, Mamin had seven goals with 14 points; he also had five points in seven games with the Checkers.
It was definitely a nice return to the NHL for Mamin.
Now 27, he may be looking for a little more — and may find it somewhere other than Sunrise.
Based on his performance and, those ‘wow’ flashes, perhaps a team gives him a bigger deal than the Panthers can afford right now.
Mamin had a cap hit of about $975,000 and is likely in line for something in the $1.3 million per season range.
The Panthers, about $4 million under the salary cap, could afford something like that — it’s really not that much of a raise from what he has been making — although Mamin may feel he could get a better opportunity on another team.
Florida currently has a number of decisions to make and that includes who will play on its fourth line.
Noel Acciari, whom we will get to later, is a free agent; Ryan Lomberg has a new contract which kicks in this coming season.
Grigori Denisenko, Serron Noel, Aleksi Heponiemi, Cole Schwindt and Logan Hutsko will all get looks in training camp on making the team.
Having a veteran player with the skill of Mamin certainly would not hurt.
Florida Panthers Roll Call is a recurring feature at Florida Hockey Now leading into the start of trade and free-agent season.
The NHL Draft begins July 7 in Montreal; the opening of free agency is July 13.