Miromanov leaving impression on road to NHL

Photo: Zak Krill

📝 by Patrick Williams

Daniil Miromanov has never been afraid to hit the road for a new adventure.

July’s arrival means that offseason training is well underway for most American Hockey League players, Miromanov included. The Henderson Silver Knights defenseman played his last game on April 22 ― missing the final week of the regular season and Henderson’s first-round playoff series with Colorado ― an earlier start to the offseason than he wanted.

Adding strength and endurance are among the offseason objectives for the 6-foot-4, 202-pound Miromanov. But everyone needs a bit of a break to recover physically, recharge mentally, to miss hockey a bit. Miromanov, who turns 25 on July 11, wrapped up his season planning to incorporate that down time into his offseason schedule.

Training either in Las Vegas or California sets him up with plenty of options to explore. Hoover Dam is a short drive from Vegas. So is Valley of Fire State Park. Arizona or Lake Tahoe are within driving distance for a long weekend as he acclimates further to a city that he might call his National Hockey League home for a long time.

“The United States of America is really an amazing country in that you can travel and see the different amazing parts of nature,” the Moscow native said. “I definitely don’t get that in the season, and I’ll try my best to just go around, discover different things.”

Wherever Miromanov might be road-tripping this holiday weekend, he will do so with a new two-year contract extension. The parent Vegas Golden Knights rewarded him with a new deal announced last week, following a standout season with the Silver Knights that also included his NHL debut.

Since first signing with the organization in March 2021 after spending a season in the Kontinental Hockey League with HK Sochi, Miromanov has quickly impressed his teammates, coaches, and management on and off the ice.

But Miromanov’s path to the NHL was a long time coming.

To start to familiarize himself with the North American game, Miromanov came to Canada at age 16 and played two seasons of AAA hockey in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. Then it was two seasons of major junior in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, playing in the bilingual French-English city of Bathurst, N.B. He returned to Russia after starting the 2017-18 season with Moncton (QMJHL), and spent his first three seasons as a professional between Russia, the Czech Extraliga, and Manchester of the ECHL, where he had 40 points in 49 games in 2018-19.

He signed with the Golden Knights as a free agent on March 16, 2021, and finished the season in Henderson, skating in six regular-season games and five postseason contests. In 2021-22, his first full AHL campaign, Miromanov’s 40 points (11 goals, 29 assists) in 53 appearances led Silver Knights defensemen. He also played his first 11 NHL games, picking up his first point, an assist, against the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 26.

“I had a lot of fun and pride playing with the Silver Knights,” Miromanov said. “I think it was a great season for everyone, and all the guys learned.

“I learned a lot from [Vegas] from being there, looking at their routines, everything that they do at the rink. I know that I need to work on my overall game, my three-zone game, so I’m looking forward to it.”

This summer’s work could make Miromanov a strong candidate for more work with the Golden Knights this fall.

“We’ve really liked the way he’s developing his offensive gifts,” Silver Knights head coach Manny Viveiros said. “He showed it at the National Hockey League level. At the American Hockey League level, it’s elite. We’re just working on him as far as fine-tuning his game as a defenseman to get him ready to be a full-time National Hockey League player.

“There are some areas that he needs to work on. He knows that, and he’s putting the time and effort into it, but we really like the way he’s progressed.”

Miromanov has been valuable off the ice as well. Need someone to translate for a Russian teammate? No problem. Las Vegas and a booming city like adjacent Henderson can be a lot to manage for someone in a new country. Miromanov’s ease with new environments made him a perfect candidate for that assignment. So did his willingness to help. He had bonded quickly with former Golden Knights forward Evgenii Dadonov, someone who went through his own AHL development process before eventually becoming an NHL regular.

In Henderson, leading scorer Pavel Dorofeyev just completed his second full season in North America. Maxim Marushev was in his first full North American campaign. Ivan Morozov, another Sochi HC product, came to Henderson just before the start of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Through their time with the Silver Knights, Dorofeyev and Marushev have improved their English “tremendously,” Viveiros reported.

The adjustment process – on and off the ice – takes time, be it with language, lifestyle, or the logistics of navigating life in an unfamiliar city.

“I was helping those guys out as much as I could,” Miromanov said. “I remember myself coming in the first time [to North America]. I had help with my parents. But those guys came in here all by themselves, and it’s just pretty hard.

“The culture is so different. If you’re comparing, it’s just two different planets. Everything is completely different, hockey and just the regular world. If you look outside of hockey, the things that you do on a daily basis, from the grocery stores and all the restaurants and all the just the regular stores. I had some time to show guys around, like where to buy groceries, what kind of stuff you should buy… Just regular life that you need to put into play on a daily basis.

“We got really comfortable this year. I’m proud of those guys.”