Prospect Update: Josh Mahura

Photo: San Diego Gulls

By Thomas Harrington

A third round pick from 2016, defenseman Josh Mahura split time in both the NHL and AHL this past season, just as he has done for every year of his pro career. Because of how many NHL games he has played over the past three seasons, Mahura is no longer considered a rookie, but I still count him as one of Anaheim’s prospects because he has yet to prove that he is a full time NHL player.

Mahura started the year in San Diego, often playing on the team’s top pair. He was called up twice to the NHL, once in February where he spent about a month with the Ducks, and again in May when he spent about a week with the Ducks.

Overall, he scored six goals and 20 points in 28 games with the Gulls, hitting the 20 point mark for the second time in his career, in significantly fewer games. He led San Diego’s defense in goals, assists, and points, while finishing tied for fourth in assists on the team. With the Ducks, he played in 13 games and scored one goal and four points. He played in all three of San Diego’s playoff games and was scoreless.

Mahura failed to hit the expectation that I set for him last year. I wanted him to play in Anaheim more than he did in San Diego. While the 13 games in the NHL was more than he played in during the 2019-2020 season, he was not able to establish himself as an NHL regular in Anaheim’s lineup. I think he’s a good player who could work well on the bottom pair, but Jacob Larsson, Jamie Drysdale, and Ben Hutton all played more than he did, and Andy Welinski also played in 13 games. Fellow prospect Simon Benoit also got in six games, some of those while Mahura was in the AHL.

I don’t think things are at a make or break point for Mahura, but it’s getting there. My expectation for him will be the same as what I set for him last year, to play more in the NHL than he does the AHL. Once again, there will be a lot of competition. Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, and Kevin Shattenkirk are the team’s top four, and Drysdale looks like he’ll be the fifth defenseman most nights. That really only leaves one open spot, and Mahura will be competing against Benoit, Larsson, Brendan Guhle, and Kodi Curran.

Mahura was a restricted free agent this summer, but Anaheim re-signed him to a two-year deal. It’s a two-way deal in the first year, but becomes a one-way deal in the second year, so the Ducks expect Mahura to be playing in the NHL more than the AHL going forward. He will also have to clear waivers this year, and it would be a risk to waive him.

Unless he has an awful training camp and is assigned to San Diego before waivers start, I do think he’ll at least start the season in Anaheim, even if it’s only as the team’s seventh defenseman. If Mahura can play well in the NHL over the next two years, expect the Ducks to re-sign him when his new contract is up. However, if he struggles over the next two years, the Ducks could choose not to qualify him. They could also risk exposing him to waivers or use him in a trade to bring in someone else to Anaheim.

The next prospect update will be on Henry Thrun.

Related Articles:

Prospect Update: Axel Andersson

Prospect Update: Maxim Golod

Prospect Update: Artyom Galimov

Prospect Update: Jackson LaCombe

Prospect Update: Trevor Janicke

Prospect Update: Jack Perbix

Prospect Update: Black McLaughlin

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September 24th, 2021


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