|6’2”||190||11-25-2003||D||L||52nd Import||A – November||RUSSIA|
|2020-21||OHL||DID NOT PLAY|
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.