Pavel Mintyukov – Saginaw Spirit – Player Profile

HTWTDOBPOSSHOOTSOHL DRAFTNHLCSCOUNTRY
6’2”19011-25-2003DL52nd ImportA – NovemberRUSSIA
SEASONLEAGUETEAMGPGAPTS
2018-19Under-16Russia Under-162491120
 Under-18Russia Under-1872810
2019-20MHLDynamo Moskva33123
 WHC U-17Russia6055
2020-21OHLDID NOT PLAY    
Pavel Mintyukov of the Saginaw Spirit. Photo by Natalie Shaver/OHL Images

Saginaw Spirit defenceman Pavel Mintyukov arrived in the Ontario Hockey League primarily known for his offensive contributions. Don’t let his MHL (OHL equivalent in Russia) fool you as he was playing above his age group starting there as a 16-year-old.

Mintyukov’s offensive game has come as advertised. Despite playing in fewer games, he’s third among draft eligible defensemen in points (22 points in 27 games) and second on goals (6 goals in 27 games) at this point.

Mintyukov is a gambler, willing to make high risk plays from the blueline. The fact is he checks off all the boxes necessary to pull them off: Skating, stick handling, vision, hockey sense, you name it, he’s got it and he quite possibly end up as the best offensive defenceman in the OHL draft class.

In his own zone, Mintyukov retrieve’s pucks quickly. He will draw in forecheckers and beat them on the transition mostly with his skating, but he can make a great first pass out of his zone. His ability to stickhandle in a phone booth is up there with the best of them.

What makes Mintyukov a high-risk high-reward type of player is that he makes those same high risk plays in his own zone as he does in the offensive zone and he can leave you scratching your head with his decision making. I love a player who has the confidence in his abilities and is willing to take risks, but he does need to reel them in some. In fairness, he has taken the steps to pick his spots better, but it is a work in progress.

You can certainly find a “safer” pick among OHL blueliners, but they don’t possess Mintyukov’s offensive talent. And you could say that sometimes he looks disinterested or doesn’t put in the effort. Some who cover the OHL suggest they would take him before Ty Nelson of the North Bay Battalion and is the clear number one blueliner. Others say they prefer the safer picks.

Myself? I believe if Mintyukov can put it all together he has the ability to be a top pairing defenceman at the NHL level. It all comes down to whether you believe he can. We’re only half way through the OHL season. Once the season comes to an end, we’ll have a better understanding on where he fits.

OHL WRITERS’ DRAFT ELGIBLE PLAYERS OF THE MONTH: DECEMBER 2021

The Ontario Hockey League had to postpone more games than anyone wanted to see in December due to the COVID-19 Protocols, but there were some pretty good performances that should not be ignored.

Pavel Cajan of the Kitchener Rangers. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images

In previous season, I looked for one performance that I would feel comfortable saying that player was the Player of the Month. But because of the lost season one year ago and the number of players re-entering the NHL Entry Draft in 2022, I decided for this year to select one forward, one defenceman and one goaltender. Here we go.

Up front, It’s Mississauga Steelheads forward Luca DelBelBelluz who scored 4 goals and 9 assists in 9 contests in the month of December and a whopping 31 shots on goal. He had 4 multi point games including a four-assist night against North Bay on December 29 and he was held off the scoresheet in just two contests.

DelBelBelluz now has 15 goals and 21 assists on the season and sits second in points on the Steelheads just two points behind James Hardie. Among draft eligible players, he is third in points, tied for third in goals and second in assists and easily leads all draft eligible players in plus/minus with a plus-27.

Also considered were a pair of Hamilton Bulldogs. Avery Hayes had 6 goals and 7 assists in 9 games while Ryan Humphrey had 3 goals and 8 assists in 9 games. Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs had 3 goals and 7 assists but played in just 4 games because of the World Junior Championships and the Fronts being in COVID protocol.

On the blueline I could have gone a number of different ways but settled on Kirill Kudryavtsev of the Soo Greyhounds. The 5’11, 200-pound Russian scored once and added 6 assists in 7 games for the Greyhounds raising his totals to 2 goals and 16 assists in 28 games on the season.

I gave the nod to Kudryavtsev because I liked his all-around game. He was kept off the scoresheet in 2 of those 7 games, but the Greyhounds were 0-1-1 in those games. In the 5 games he registered a point? 4-0-1. He is an important player on the Greyhounds blueline as a rookie.

Also considered were Saginaw Spirit defenceman Pavel Mintyukov with 3 goals and 5 assists in 10 games, Samuel Mayer of the Peterborough Petes with 3 goals and 3 assists in 7 games, Ty Nelson of the North Bay Battalion with 8 assists in 9 games and Rodwin Dionicio of the Niagara IceDogs with a goal and 5 assists in 5 games.

The decision in net was the easiest and that was Pavel Cajan of the Kitchener Rangers. The draft re-entry netminder simply gives the Rangers a chance every time he mans the crease. He went 4-1-1 in the month of December with a stellar .919 save-percentage.

In his only regulation loss, Cajan stopped 32 of 34 shots in a 2-1 loss to the Windsor Spitfires. In his only other loss – in overtime- he stopped 34 of 38 shots in a 4-3 OT loss to the Soo Greyhounds. On the season Cajan has a save-percentage of .904 – third among draft eligible goalies and a goals-against-average of 3.23 – fifth among draft eligible goalies.

Also considered was North Bay Battalion netminder Dom DiVincentiis. In 4 appearances he went 1-2-0 with a .909 save-percentage

FORWARDS

December – Luca DelBelBelluz – Mississauga Steelheads

November – Kyle Jackson – North Bay Battalion

October – Tucker Robertson – Peterborough Petes

DEFENCEMEN

December – Kirill Kudryavtsev – Soo Greyhounds

November – Gavin While – Hamilton Bulldogs

October – Ty Nelson – North Bay Battalion

GOALTENDERS

December – Pavel Cajan – Kitchener Rangers

November – Patrick Leaver – Oshawa Generals

October – Brett Brochu – London Knights

OHL WRITER’S DRAFT ELIGIBLE PLAYER OF THE MONTH FOR NOVEMBER 2021

Kyle Jackson of the North Bay Battalion. Photo by Terry Wilson, OHL Images

I can’t tell you how much fun it is to be back in an arena and watching live hockey. There just isn’t anything like it in the sports world.

In prior years, we here have done a draft eligible player of the month. However, just like we did for October, because of the sheer number of players re-entering the draft we have expanded it to include the draft eligible player of the month at forward position, defence and goaltending. So here we go…

FORWARD

It was an easy decision up front and that was Kyle Jackson of the North Bay Battalion. Jackson recorded eleven goals and eleven assists in just eleven games in November and now sits with fourteen goals and twenty-one assists in twenty-two games to lead all draft eligible players in scoring. Jackson was held off the scoresheet just once in November and produced seven multi-point games. He was recognized by the OHL as the top performer of the month.

We did consider Nolan Dann of the Sarnia Sting briefly. Dann played in twelve games and scored ten goals and assisted on six.

DEFENCEMAN

This could have gone any number of ways but we went with Gavin White of the Hamilton Bulldogs. White scored twice while adding eleven assists in ten games in the month of November. The reason we chose White over the others was his consistency through the month. He was only held pointless twice in those ten games and he only had two multi point games in the remaining eight. You can’t get much more consistent than that for a blueliner. White is a draft re-entry.

Also considered were a pair of Saginaw Spirit defencemen. Pavel Mintyukov had two goals and eight helpers in twelve games while Roberto Mancini had three goals and eight assists. Spencer Sova of the Erie Otters was also given consideration with his three goals and eight assists in eleven contests.

GOALTENDER

Patrick Leaver gets the nod here and it’s a token nod since he will not get the playing time, he has gotten through the first two months with the return of Oshawa Generals number one netminder from an injury. It’s not like he is not deserving though. Leaver posted a 4-2-1 record through November and a .902 save-percentage.

Of course, Brett Brochu of the London Knights was also considered. Brochu had a 6-4-1 record and a .904 save-percentage.

FORWARDS

November – Kyle Jackson – North Bay Battalion

October – Tucker Robertson – Peterborough Petes

DEFENCEMEN

November – Gavin While – Hamilton Bulldogs

October – Ty Nelson – North Bay Battalion

GOALTENDERS

November – Patrick Leaver – Oshawa Generals

October – Brett Brochu – London Knights