2021-22 Team: Saginaw Spirit (#10)
Date of Birth: Nov. 25, 2003
Place of Birth: Moskva, Russia
Ht: 6’1” Wt: 192 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 6th (among NA skaters)
- Future Considerations: 20th
- Peter Baracchini’s May Rankings: 12th
- Andrew Forbes’ March Rankings: 16th
- Matthew Zator’s April Rankings: 16th
- SMAHT Scouting: 28th
- Bob McKenzie’s Mid-Season Rankings: 16th
- Dobber Prospects Mid-Season Rankings: 12th
From under-16 to under-18 in Russia, Pavel Mintyukov was a member of the Dynamo Moskva organization and never really found his offensive game. Even in 2019-20, he made the jump to the MHL joining MHK Dynamo Moskva for 33 games in the regular season and he tallied a goal and three points.
That, however, changed when the Saginaw Spirit took the six-foot-one defenceman in the first round, 52nd overall, in the CHL Import Draft in 2020. While he didn’t get a chance to play in 2020-21 with the cancellation of the OHL season, Mintyukov has had a coming out party in 2021-22 with the Spirit in his draft year with 17 goals and 62 points in just 67 regular season games. That’s on a team that finished second to only the Niagara IceDogs from the bottom of the league standings.
His 62 points with Saginaw was good enough for third in the OHL amongst defenceman, while he finished fifth in goals by defensemen with 17. All things considered, his season was impressive being his first over in North America with a mediocre club.
As for what he brings as a player, Mintyukov has the size to play a physical game but hasn’t garnered a taste for that just yet. He’s a puck mover that can stickhandle with the top defensemen in his draft, but does make mistakes sometimes when he tries to overplay the puck.
Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide
His zone exits are something that he will have to work on developing to reach his full capabilities as a pro, but as a defenceman on the opposing blue line he can keep the play alive offering opportunity for his forward lines. He has been known to play aggressively with the puck which can be a positive in his game at times as he pulls moves that could confuse him for being a skilled forward at times.
What will be interesting to watch is whether his offensive game will translate over to the NHL when he steps into that next level. It’s a confidence that he’s found with the puck, but he will likely be expected to re-shape his entire game. The hope for any team that drafts him will be that he can develop his game away from the puck while maintaining the confidence that he’s built with it. The skill is there. He sees the ice well, but the hockey IQ will be something that teams will look at when they get take a chance on Mintyukov.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Pavel Mintyukov – NHL Draft Projection
For most, Mintyukov is a first-round talent. He’s not in the upper-class of the first round in 2022, but sits as a second- to third-tier player just outside the top-10. There’s a lot of positives that come from his game, but there’s still areas that need to be developed which is likely why you’ll see him go somewhere in the 12 to 16 range come draft day.
“Pavel Mintyukov is one of the bigger conundrums for me in the 2022 draft. He started off this year as a firecracker in all facets of the game. He was hyper-aggressive in the offensive zone, showcased fantastic puck skill, and moved into areas of the ice and used activation strategies that aren’t conventional even for offensive-leaning defensemen. However, he was also reckless in his activation into zone exits, would misread controlled possessions and be out of position.” – Austin Garrett, Smaht Scouting
“I believe he has the highest upside of any defenceman available. His small area skill is just insane for a defender. He makes plays miss on a nightly basis and loves to play deep in the offensive zone. The building blocks are there for him to develop into the type of defender who consistently produces offensively at the NHL level.” – Brock Otten, McKeen’s
“Oozes raw talent, skating skill, vision, deception, offensively aggressive and defensively reliable. Sounds like an NHL defenceman to me. Not sure he has top pairing upside, but will be one of the higher scoring defenders from this draft class.” – Peter Harling, DobberProspects
- Skating and speed
- Offensively sees the game
- Aggressive with the puck
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Defensive zone exits
Mintyukov has a high offensive ceiling, but his all-around game might not earn him a top-pairing designation at the NHL level on a regular basis. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him as a regular on any team’s second pair, but count on him to be a major piece on an NHL power play unit at some point in his career.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 7.5/10, Defense – 6.5/10
In 2019-20, Mintyukov was a member of the U17 World Hockey Championship gold medal winning Russian squad. Aside from that, he was most recently awarded the Defenceman of the Month honours in the OHL for the month of March — with five goals and 15 points in 13 games in the month.
Pavel Mintyukov Statistics
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.