Aram Minnetian — 2023 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Aram Minnetian

2022-23 Team: U.S. U18 National Team/USNTDP Juniors
Date of Birth: March 19, 2005
Place of Birth: Woodcliff Lake, NJ
Height: 6-foot-0, Weight: 170 pounds
Shoots: Right
Position: Defense
NHL Draft Eligibility: first-year draft eligible

Rankings

Aram Minnetian is an American defenseman who spent the 2022-23 season with the U.S. National U18 Team in the United States Development Program, totaling 27 points in 53 games. He also spent time with the USNTDP in the United States Hockey League (USHL), where he has six points in 21 games. 

The best part of Minnetian’s game is his skating. He uses that to his advantage in transition, where he excels on the rush because of his high-end skating ability. Once he gains the offensive zone, he’s not afraid to jump into the play with speed and create scoring chances. 

Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide

Part of that offensive flair in Minnetian’s game comes from playing forward in his two years in New Jersey prep with Bergen Catholic High School. It’s easy to tell that he was a forward at one point, even though he’s been playing defense for the last two years with the USDP. 

While Minnetian’s skating is one of his best attributes, it’s not the only tool in his kit. He’s a good stickhandler, which likely comes from his time playing forward, and he has a decent shot too. Here’s an example of both, as he uses his stick handling to walk the blue line to eventually create space for himself by the faceoff dot for a goal: 

Minnetian is also a good passer, so that begs the question, why hasn’t he put up more points with the USDP and in the USHL? Part of that is because the USDP class for the 2023 draft isn’t as strong as usual, but it could also partly be because he’s moved back to playing defense with the USDP.

And while he is more of an offensive defenseman, he’s shown good defensive instincts. He defends the rush well and can make the right reads in the neutral zone to break up the opposition’s attack. Once Minnetian matures, he should be a bigger point producer from the blue line. The tools are there — rush game, puck-moving ability, etc. Now, it’s about refining his game once he gets to Boston College. 

Other THW Draft Profiles

Aram Minnetian — NHL Draft Projection

At one point, Minnetian was thought to be a late first-round talent. But because the offensive production hasn’t been there with the USDP and in the USHL, he’s slipped to the second round in most rankings. Still, there’s a lot to like about his game. And in a weak class for defensemen, he should find himself off the board in the second round. 

Quotables

“His skating is smooth and deceptive and another area of the game in which the New Jersey product excels at. He possesses blazing fast speed along with a great technique that is well above his age group. When Minnetian is on the ice it is always noticeable and is usually the best player at both ends of the ice.” David Ciss – Sports Illustrated

“Minnetian took a huge leap forward in my eyes this past week. He stood out almost every time he hopped over the boards. He tapped into his offensive upside, contributing a goal and seven assists. He projects to be a transitional/two-way defender who can transport pucks and contribute on the power play. This draft class is forward heavy, so Minnetian as a defenceman is giving teams more to ponder after this event.” – Jason Bukala, Sportsnet (Nov. 14, 2022)

Aram Minnetian USNTDP
Aram Minnetian with the USNTDP (Photo by Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

“On the blueline, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. But the one defender receiving a ton of praise recently is Aram Minnetian. The offensive blueliner had an excellent Five Nations tournament with eight points and is really starting to look comfortable. He spent a lot of time as a forward as a youth, and you can notice that in the way he pinches in and helps drive plays. Minnetian does an excellent job of rushing the puck down the ice and his high offensive IQ allows him to find teammates through his peripheral vision, which can be highly deceptive. Minnetian should have no issue finding a role in the NHL one day once he finishes at Boston College.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff (Nov. 27, 2022)

Strengths

  • Skating
  • Puck-moving ability
  • Transition game
  • Shot
  • Passing
  • Ability to defend the rush

Under Construction — Improvements to Make

  • Strength
  • Offensive consistency
  • Maturing as a defenseman

NHL Potential

In an interview below, Minnetian says he models games after Drew Doughty and Bowen Byram. While he doesn’t have that kind of upside, he’s a two-way defenseman in a similar mold. If the offensive game comes around, there’s enough to think Minnetian could become a second-pair defender. His NHL upside is pretty decent, as he has the skating and puck-moving ability modern-day blueliners need to have. 

Risk/Reward Potential

Risk: 3.5/5, Reward: 4/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offense: 7/10, Defense: 7/10

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Aram Minnetian Stats