Islanders: 3 Blue Line Targets at the NHL Draft

2018 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
2018 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Pavel Mintyukov
2022 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages

Pavel Mintyukov

Mintyukov has been spoken about as a top-five defenseman in the 2022 NHL Draft. His draft rank among defensemen fluctuates between the third and fourth-best defender of the crop.

Concerns for Russian players have lessened according to Corey Pronman of The Athletic:

"As we’ve approached the draft I’ve heard less “Russian factor” concerns on Mintyukov, who played all year in North America and didn’t go home to Russia to train this offseason. My current expectation is he will go somewhere in the top 12-13 based on what I’m hearing in the industry. "

Corey Pronman

If the Islanders are looking to recoup what they lost in both Devon Toews and Nick Leddy, Mintyukov profiles as a defenseman who can move the puck in a similar fashion with the added factor that he tends to be more of an aggressive puck rusher.

Mintyukov draws comparison to Brandon Montour of the Florida Panthers and projects as a top-four defenseman, something the Islanders might not currently have in their pipeline:

"Mintyukov is an exciting defenseman. He plays with pace and is aggressive as a rusher. His skating allows him to evade pressure easily and transition pucks up ice with his feet. Mintyukov is also highly skilled and can make plays through legs and sticks. He shows good offensive IQ, knowing when to activate and how to make plays with the puck. He also has a hard point shot, making him dangerous on the PP with his skating and vision. Defensively he’s solid, showing an ability to use his long reach, mobility and physicality to kill plays. He can be a little too aggressive at times trying to create offense when he leaves his defensive position. He projects as a top-four defenseman with the potential to play high in the lineup. -"

Corey Pronman

If he falls to the Islanders at 13, don't be surprised to hear his name at the podium.