Masin's Progression Earns Him More Ice Time With Crunch

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Dominik Masin has made significant strides during his rookie season in Syracuse.

Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx believes Masin is one of the most improved players on the team, and has increased the defenseman’s responsibilities throughout the season.

Masin is continuing to earn more ice time in all situations as he develops with the Crunch.

“The improvement he’s made this year is huge,” Groulx said. “He’s made big steps forward. … At first when he came in, we would use him five minutes a game. Now he’s playing 18, 19, 20 minutes a game. He’s playing power play. He’s playing (on the penalty kill). That shows you how much he has improved.”

Masin took some time to adjust to the speed of the pro game, and learned he had to be more patient with the puck. Groulx has seen progression in many areas of Masin’s game.

“He’s much better on the break out. He’s much better supporting the rush. He plays with more grit. He’s more assertive out there,” Groulx said. “I really like Dom.”

Masin, who turned 21 last month, has a pair of goals and assists to go along with 37 penalty minutes in 50 games this season. The 6-2, 198-pounder hasn’t shied away from physical play, and got into his first pro fight on Feb. 15.

“It’s different to play here than junior hockey,” Masin said. “The guys are stronger and they play more physical. The older guys have taught me more stuff on the ice that I can use in my game. It’s been great so far.”

Masin, Tampa Bay Lightning’s second round selection in 2014, recorded 69 points over 112 games with Peterborough of the OHL before turning pro.

Masin joined the Crunch for practices at the end of the 2015 OHL season, but was unable to play because he was rehabbing from face and collarbone injuries. He rejoined Syracuse and made his AHL debut after the Petes’ 2016 season.

That four-game taste helped give Masin an idea of what to expect for his first full rookie season.

“All the coaches are great here and helping me along,” the Mestec Kralove, Czech Republic native said. “They’re teaching me new stuff. … It’s been great. I love it here.”

Groulx likes the way Masin’s development is trending, and sees big things for him in the coming years.

“He’s young … and he’s got a bright future,” Groulx said. “What he needs is a big summer of training and I think things will fall into place for him. I really like him. I think he’s one of the most improved players on our team, and knowing him and the way he is as a person, he wants to play in the NHL and he will complete that.”

Pictured: Crunch defenseman Dominik Masin looks to make a pass against the Americans at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.