Pavel Mintyukov Is Redefining Defence In The Modern Era  Of The OHL

Pavel Mintyukov Is Redefining Defence In The Modern Era Of The OHL

Pavel Mintyukov’s combination of deceptive skating and four-way mobility signals a new age for defencemen by how he chooses to activate in offensive situations.

So far this season, he has 16 goals and 57 points in 43 games between the Saginaw Spirit and the Ottawa 67’s. He was the tenth overall selection by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2022 NHL Draft, and is one of the better prospects in their system.


Looking at his microstats from the 2021-22 season, they detail that he excelled in the passing, such as slot passes per sixty, and expected goals categories. He had one of the best game scores in the OHL, and that’s because of his impact on both ends of the ice.

Pavel Mintyukov visualization card by Mitchell Brown, of Elite Prospects

For the Spirit, he was used in all situations, and faced the toughest minutes. Playing with high-volume shooters in Michael Misa and Hunter Haight, helped him generate high-danger scoring opportunities on a nightly basis. Looking at the present day, he is still playing with some of the league’s best talent, but in a different situation.


Ottawa’s game in Owen Sound from last Sunday showcased the different role that Mintyukov has been thrust into. He is no longer playing on the first powerplay unit, with Jack Matier assigned as the quarterback since the beginning of the season. He also is seeing less 5v5 ice time and is getting used to 67s Head Coach Dave Cameron’s structure. 

Looking at advanced numbers, he generated 6 takeaways at 5v5 and had strong stick positioning in all three zones. His east-to-west movement is among the league’s best, and that allows him to activate into the offensive zone, but get back in time defensively. This is supported by his 6 controlled zone exits, and his confidence to skate the puck with possession. A difference in Ottawa vs Saginaw is his lack of controlled zone entries, as he isn’t expected to activate on odd-man rushes. He had just 1 controlled zone entry and had 5 plays where he elected to dump the puck into the offensive zone instead.


However, he still has showcased flashes of brilliance since joining his new team. Let’s look at a well-executed play in the neutral zone that led to a goal, when the 67’s took on the Barrie Colts last week.

Ottawa 67s forward Brady Stonehouse’s goal from January 19, 2023 against the Barrie Colts (via @OHLHockey on Twitter)

After an errant pass by Colt’s defender Beau Akey, Mintyukov forces the turnover along the boards. After taking one stride, he goes through Zachary Wingle and showcases his ability to win 1-on-1 situations. He finds Brady Stonehouse, who reads the situation well, and he scores the game-winning goal. Although the scoring chances haven’t come as easy for him in Ottawa so far, he has shown flashes of the player that he can be.

Looking at OHL Breakout Candidates for 2023-24 (Carson Rehkopf, Nick Lardis) | O-Talk Podcast The O-Talk Podcast

Welcome to the eighteenth episode of The O-Talk podcast, hosted by Frankie Benvenuti, Jordan Jacklin, and Josh Kim. This show primarily focuses on the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and features weekly guests (media, players, and coaches). Today, the guys discussed OHL breakout candidates, and Jordan had a surprise answer. Links: Spotify: ⁠⁠.Youtube: ⁠⁠.Twitter: ⁠⁠Instagram: ⁠⁠Tik Tok: ⁠⁠.⁠#OHL⁠ ⁠#ontariohockeyleague⁠ ⁠#ohlhockey⁠ ⁠#ohlplayoffs⁠ ⁠#windsorspitfires⁠ ⁠#kitchenerrangers⁠ ⁠#sarniasting⁠ ⁠#guelphstorm⁠ ⁠#ottawa67s⁠ ⁠#oshawagenerals⁠ ⁠#barriecolts⁠ #northbaybattalion #saginawspirit #erieotters #colebeaudoin #2024nhldraft #nhldraft #nhldraft2024

An aspect of his game that has been neutralized in Ottawa is his shot, with him often electing to make a pass. In the game against Owen Sound, he generated 3 shot assists, but had no shots at 5v5. The sample size is very low for it to accrue any meaning, however, it showcases that he’s at his best when he’s more willing to shoot. His high goal-scoring rate shows that he is elite among defenders and he knows how to create space to find shooting lanes. Eventually, it’s expected that his finishing talent will increase if he continues to drive the play at the rate that he can.

Pavel Mintyukov, Ottawa 67’s – Josh Kim / Barrie Colts

If an eastern conference team is scouting the 67s ahead of a potential playoff matchup, limiting Mintyukov in the neutral and offensive zone has to be one of the higher priorities. An obstacle in preparing a plan around him is that he plays a high-risk game, where he can generate takeaways at a higher level than when he loses the puck.


He will be a player to keep track of as the regular season concludes, and will be fascinating to evaluate if his game translates well at the professional level.

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