The 21-year-old winger, and former third-round draft pick of the Lightning in 2020, is making his North American debut this season after spending the past three seasons in Russia between the KHL and VHL.
This change of scenery should serve Groshev well as with the Lightning — in presumably the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch — he will be afforded much greater ice-time than what he received as part of a deep SKA St. Petersburg organization.
While there are no official time on ice stats available for the Rookie Showcase, it felt like he was one of the most utilized forwards on the team. And rightfully so as he earned those minutes.
From the time the puck dropped for Game 1 to the final whistle for Game 3, Groshev was visibly one of the hardest working players on the ice. His shifts were highlighted by the use of speed to carry the puck up ice and to hound opponents in their own end.
Groshev’s highlight of the tournament came when he blew past the Florida Panther’s defense in Game 3 and beat their goalie up close.
But it was not just high effort plays as he also proved to be an effective playmaker with the puck on his stick.
And seen this time on the power play.
A sign of things to come for Groshev?
With a standout performance at the Rookie Showcase behind him, what is next for Groshev?
Camp with the Tampa Bay Lightning is right around the corner, and I would not be surprised if he sticks around late and even challenges for the last remaining open roster spot on the team. He has 108 games of experience in the best pro league outside of North America and has a skillset that would not restrain him from playing anywhere in the lineup.
A safe bet would be that he takes at least a year to fully adjust to North American hockey while featuring in a prominent role with the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL this season.
Former Lightning forward Alexander Volkov was in a similar position when he signed with the Lightning in 2019 after playing exclusively in Russia, and he played 149 AHL games his first two seasons with the organization. But Groshev joins with a much more impressive resume of experience than what Volkov had, so that is not a perfect comparison.
So, for now, we will leave it to the players compete for the open roster spot in the preseason while keeping an eye on Groshev after this promising start to his career in Lightning colors.