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Well-traveled defenseman rewarded with recall to Golden Knights

Daniil Miromanov was packing his bags for the Silver Knights’ trip to Canada and talking to his parents back home in Russia when he received a message on his phone late Wednesday.

The defenseman’s first thought was that something happened with his passport that would prevent him from crossing the border to play the two American Hockey League games against the Abbotsford Canucks.

“I saw the message I was going to practice here this morning, so that was good,” Miromanov said Thursday at City National Arena. “Good feeling.”

The Golden Knights recalled Miromanov from the AHL after his breakout showing during the preseason and bright start in the minors. He is unlikely to play Friday when the Knights host Edmonton at T-Mobile Arena.

Defenseman Alec Martinez was injured in Wednesday’s loss to St. Louis and is undergoing further evaluation, leaving the Knights with six healthy defensemen.

Silver Knights defensemen Peter DiLiberatore, Zack Hayes, Kaedan Korczak and Derrick Pouliot are out injured, opening the door for Miromanov to earn a promotion.

“He’s clearly the next guy,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “He’s got a great shot, good instincts. You reward guys on merit and what they’ve done. And he’s the next guy based on the camp he’s had.”

Miromanov, 24, spent two seasons as a forward in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before he returned to Russia in 2017. Along the way, he said former NHL standout Igor Larionov recommended a switch to defense.

“That’s the reason everyone calls him ‘Professor,’ ” Miromanov said.

In December 2017, Miromanov went back to the QMJHL as a defenseman and was with Manchester of the ECHL in 2018-19. He then played two more years in Russia before signing an entry-level contract with the Golden Knights in March.

In six AHL games last season, Miromanov didn’t record a point, but he had two assists in five postseason appearances.

“A lot of people, they don’t really appreciate offensive defensemen back home in Russia,” Miromanov said.

Miromanov drew inspiration watching the Knights’ postseason run and said he took two weeks off before “grinding” all summer in preparation for the season.

In the exhibition season, Miromanov scored the lone goal in a 3-1 loss to Los Angeles on Sept. 30 when he moved in from the point and sent a shot into the upper corner.

He added two goals in a 4-0 win over Los Angeles on Oct. 1, including a brilliant individual effort in the third period when he danced around Kings goalie Calvin Petersen before tucking the puck inside the post.

“I think my style of play, it’s North American,” Miromanov said. ” I think also the small ice benefits your game in the D zone. It’s kind of like two steps and you’re in the corner, and then three steps you’re in the neutral zone and you can join the rush. When back home the ice is huge.”

Despite his preseason efforts, Miromanov was reassigned to the Silver Knights out of training camp. He had two goals and four points in two AHL victories against the Colorado Eagles.

While Miromanov’s offensive skill is apparent, he continues to improve his defensive awareness. During the preseason, the Knights allowed more shot attempts per 60 minutes when he was on the ice than any other player.

“Just working hard every day, watching video with the coaches,” Miromanov said. “I know my offensive game is up there. Of course I know I need to improve my defensive game to be an overall solid player.”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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