SPOTLIGHT: Third year’s a charm for Adam Mascherin
Adam Mascherin has been out to prove all the doubters wrong.
The 18-year-old winger, drafted out of the Vaughan Kings minor midget program, heard the doubt and questions that surfaced from some when the Kitchener Rangers selected him at second overall in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection almost three years ago.
Critics wondered if Mascherin – coming in at 5’8” and 205lbs – was just too small in stature to make it in this league, or worthy of being chosen as high as he was in the draft. The Maple, ON native decided the best way to respond wasn’t verbally but to let his game do the talking instead, which he’s continued to do throughout his first three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League.
In his final season with the Kings in minor midget he potted an impressive 40 goals and 70 points in just 33 regular season games, and his transition to major junior the following season did not disappoint.
The numbers for his debut campaign were impressive for a rookie, notching 12 goals – including six on the power play – and 29 points in 62 regular season games. It was a good benchmark to build off of as he began his OHL career.
The following season was a breakout for Mascherin, as he got off to a hot start with points in each of his first eleven games. In his 12th game of the season he was injured on his first shift but, after missing only a handful of games, was back in the Rangers’ lineup and yet again registering points on a regular basis.
Being his NHL Draft year, all eyes were watching when it came time for players to be invited to the 2016 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Vancouver, British Columbia. Feeling confident he would be invited he was certainly shocked – and understandably disappointed – when the call didn’t come. A promising and valuable chance to showcase his talents on a grander stage against some of his most talented peers wouldn’t present itself to the dynamic winger.
Dissatisfied but not defeated, he continued to maintain the attitude that he would play so well during league play that he’d change the mind of scouts who may have carried doubt.
And that’s what he did, finishing the OHL’s regular season tied for the team lead in Rangers’ scoring with captain Ryan MacInnis, tallying 35 goals and 81 points in just 65 games. He would be held off the scoresheet just 13 times all season.
The following offseason when the NHL Draft came along, it was the Florida Panthers who selected Mascherin in the second round with the 38th overall pick.
Since then, Mascherin has piqued the interest of Panthers fans and media alike; from highlight reel-goals to a high hockey-IQ with above-average playmaking abilities, the sharp-shooter’s track record heading into the draft had the people of Sunrise, Florida oozing in anticipation from the minute that general manager Tom Rowe called his name in June, 2016.
Equipped with arguably one of the best shots in the entire Canadian Hockey League, he had another strong start when the puck dropped on the 2016-17 campaign, continuing to add accolades to his ever-growing list of accomplishments.
Through the first two months of the OHL season, Mascherin potted an impressive nine goals and 18 assists for 27 points in 13 games played, helping guide the Rangers to a record of 10-3-0-1. He was invited to skate for Canada in both games of the CIBC Canada Russia Series in November, scoring a goal in his first game as a member of Team OHL.
Registering points in every game played in November except for one, Mascherin had his sights set on his next big goal; but once again he hit a wall.
Hockey Canada’s National Team Selection Camp roster was announced in early December for the World Junior Championship but remarkably, as the third-highest Canadian point-getter in the CHL, he failed to get an invite.
Again, he was posed with a choice; be upset and derailed, or fight back and prove the skeptics wrong. He decided to keep his head up, but this time to do it for himself instead of in spite of those who don’t believe in his abilities.
As the end of his third regular season in the OHL approaches, the league phenom has shown his game is not only well rounded, but continues to progress.
Through 60 regular season games this season, half have been multi-point games. A remarkable stat, as is the fact he’s only been held pointless eleven times this year.
The speed. The shot. The grit. The near impossibility of moving him off a puck.
OHL Player of the Month for January. Owner of 200-plus career regular season points in a Kitchener Rangers uniform. Countless times being featured in the OHL Plays of the Week.
He brings so many elements to the table, constantly striving to better himself during every game, practice, and off-ice workout. How ironic that as he matures and evolves, it’s no longer scouts or selection committees that are Mascherin’s biggest critics, but Mascherin himself.
He won’t be outworked. He won’t back down from a challenge. And he won’t stop until he’s achieved everything he’s set out to do, in his junior years and beyond.