Looking at the Devils in terms of defensive prospects, the list is almost barren. Joshua Jacobs, Colton White, Jeremy Davies and Yegor Rykov are arguably the only Devils defensive prospects, with each prospect having a varying amount of hype. I expect the Devils to address these issues in this upcoming draft, though obviously not with their 1st overall pick. Artyom Minulin, one of the older prospects in this draft, could be the answer.
Who is Artyom Minulin?
Artyom Minulin is a defender for the Swift Current Broncos of the WHL. According to eliteprospects, he was born in Tyumen, Russia on the 1st of October, 1998. He shoots right-handed and his physical attributes list him as 6’2, 198 lbs. His stats can be seen below:
As you can see, he spent 2014-2015 with the Metallurg Magnitororsk U17 program, where he recorded 13 goals and 14 assists in 25 games. That was good for 8th best on the team for points, 6th for goals, and 10th for assists. He played two games in the MHL, where he recorded no ponits. Internationally, he recorded 3 points in 13 games for the Russia U17 program. In 2015-2016, he shifted to the WHL, where he debuted for the Swift Current Broncos. He was immediately an impact player for the team, lining with Senators draft pick Maxime Lajoie to head the defensive core. Overall, he recorded 33 points for the team, good for 6th on the team, and his 5 goals put him 3rd on the team for defenders. In 2016-2017, he improved even more. All of his numbers improved, with Minulin outperforming Lajoie to become the #1 defenseman for the Broncos, and for Minulin to comtinue to improve as a player. His 50 points in 70 games placed him 5th in points for the Broncos.
Where is Minulin Ranked?
NHL Central Scouting (North America) - 58 (Dropped from 49 Midterm)
The Draft Analyst - 67 (Raised from 70 midterm)
Craig Button - 72
The consensus with Minulin seems to be that of a 3rd-round draft pick. It seems he could fall anywhere from the 50-80 range. The Devils have two 3rd round picks, one at 63 and the other at 84. Minulin seems unlikely to drop to the later 3rd round pick, so this seems like a prospect the Devils may take at 63.
What Others Say About Minulin?
Per Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News
Minulin’s main chores, however, involve getting the Broncos some wins. At 6-foot-2 and 202 pounds, he has great size and contributes at both ends of the ice. He led all Swift Current defensemen in points this season with 50 in 70 games and prides himself on his defensive positioning.
This is his second year in Swift Current and having a year in the rough and tumble ‘Dub’ before his draft campaign seems like a good decision right now.
In recent years, the Devils have had trouble getting defensemen with offensive and defensive potential. Recent picks such as Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill have struggled with their defense, leading them to have more diminished roles than was initially expected. It’s nice to see Minulin’s defensive positioning praised, as that’s what the Devils need in a defenseman.
According to an interview from Minulin himself
“We have to play hard and physical with them. We cannot give them too many chances in our zone. We need to be faster than them and I think we can beat them.”
Since he is a larger guy, he knows he needs to lead on the ice by initiating a physical, defensive style.
“I always try and play physical. I am pretty big at six-foot-two, 200 pounds and I like to play physical. Nobody likes to get hit, so I want to make them earn it and be harder on them in battles.”
A defender who recognizes his side, and tries to play his size is always beneficial for any NHL team. What’s also interesting in this interview is that he mentions another Devils prospect, undrafted Colby Sissons, and how it’s a wonder to play with him. If the Devils choose to draft Minulin, he would have someone to help adjust to Devils hockey with.
A Little Video
As per the usual, NHL Prospects provides the video highlights.
The first goal shows Minulin well aware of his positioning on the ice. He immediately rushes forward, perfectly in sync with the pass. There, he sets himself up for a good chance, which he deposits. The assists show Minulin under pressure, but aware of where his fellow players on the ice are. His vision and positioning are again highlighted, and both scores featured great assists by Minulin.
Minulin’s first assist was a simple pass across the ice, but a nice pass nonetheless. His goal was the highlight. He notices where the opposing players on the ice are, and readjusts his body to thread a shot by everyone and past the goalie.
An Opinion Of Sorts
I like Minulin, I really do. He won’t develop into anything special, but he seems like the type of defenseman that develops into a safe, trustworthy 2nd-3rd pairing defenseman. I like defenseman with good vision and positioning, and he seems to have some offensive potential as well. I’d love to use a 3rd round pick on Minulin, and hope that he continues to develop with the Broncos.
So, let me know what you think of Minulin? Is he worth a 3rd round draft pick? Would you rather have a forward? Put it down in the comments below, and take care.