It's been quite the year for Maxim Barbashev.

The New York Rangers' 2022 fifth rounder (161st overall) participated in the organization's annual Development Camp earlier this week at the team's practice facility in Tarrytown after he completed a career-high season with the Moncton Wild Cats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and witnessed his older brother Ivan hoist the Stanley Cup for the second time.

"It's been good, it was really exciting," Barbashev said of his eventful year. "It was obviously a lot better year than I had the year before. I think I took a step in my game."


Barbashev noted he felt an enhanced comfort this past season in Moncton as one of the veteran players on the squad and gained more confidence in his own game, where he utilized his 6-foot-1, 183-pound frame and sharp hockey IQ to increase his nightly production, while also implementing a physical edge.

The 19-year-old left-shot left winger doubled his previous output in goals with 32 and tallied a total of 65 points (32G, 33A) in 67 games in his third season with Moncton. In the postseason, Barbashev and the Wildcats reached the QMJHL Quarterfinals before ultimately being eliminated 4-1 by the Halifax Mooseheads. During that 12-game run, the Moscow, Russia native collected eight points (4G, 4A).

"The year before, it was up and down with my games," Barbashev said. "This year, I was focused on being more consistent in games. I'm not nervous anymore, it's not the first one. I was so excited to be here. You have time to improve yourself and show what you're capable of."

After the run in Moncton wrapped up at the end of April, Barbashev had the opportunity to join his family to cheer on his older brother in the Second Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which culminated in his eventual Stanley Cup win.

Barbashev joked that watching Ivan win the Stanley Cup wasn't quite as exciting as the first time he did so with the St. Louis Blues in 2019, but that the triumph was still surreal.

"It was a really special moment for my whole family," Barbahsev said. "It was special that he won it the second time now, but maybe not as exciting. It's extra motivation to do the same. I saw what it takes to win, and the way he was celebrating. I just want to do the same someday."

For Barbashev, having an accomplished older brother who also went the junior hockey route with Moncton (2012-15) before breaking into the NHL is a valuable resource. And despite an age gap of eight years, Barbashev noted how close he and Ivan are on matters even outside the sport they both are passionate about.


"He helps me with everything," Barbashev said. "He helps me with hockey and gives me a lot of advice, not just on hockey. He's a good brother to have. But it is fun to share [hockey] with him."

After participating in his second Development Camp this past week, Barbashev intends on making the most of his remaining summer to continue his own progression. He'll be training locally with some members of the Rangers organization before training camp officially begins in September ahead of his final year of junior hockey eligibility.

"I'm just trying to be myself and work hard to get better every day," Barbashev said. "I think I'm a physical, strong and determined player. My goal is to just keep working and get better."