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In this edition of DPDR, the DP Scouting Team goes into the film room to analyze tape on Pavel Mintyukov, Otto Salin, Ryan Chesley, Jordan Dumais, and Joel Ratkovic Berndtsson.
Mintyukov has seen his stock improve dramatically over the last couple of months and is now considered a likely first-round pick. Through 45 regular season games, he has the second-best points per game mark of all draft-eligible defencemen in the OHL.
Salin has had an injury-riddled season but his talent has been on display when he has been able to get on the ice. He has played for both HIFK’s Liiga team and their U20 squad so far this season and it will be interesting to see where he settles in if he is able to stay healthy down the stretch.
Playing the NTDP’s U18 team this season, Chesley’s offensive production has taken a step back from the numbers he put up with the U17s in 2020-21. He has continued to refine his game away from the puck but he will need to find that balance to reach his ultimate potential.
Dumais has been an offensive dynamo for Halifax in 2021-22 and currently holds a massive lead in both overall points and points per game among draft-eligible players in the QMJHL. As of this writing, his 58 points in 39 games are 21 more than the next highest scoring draft-eligible player out of the Quebec league.
With other high-end Swedish prospects like Jonathan Lekkerimäki, Liam Öhgren, and Noah Östlund, Ratkovic Berndtsson has flown under the radar a little bit. His 1.18 points per game currently rank as the sixth-best mark among draft-eligibles playing in the J20 Nationell.
Pavel Mintyukov | LD/RD | Saginaw vs. Guelph (OHL) | 2022-02-12
0 G, 2 A, 2 SOG, 25:46 TOI
Kyle Watson: Mintyukov plays a high-octane offensive game that allows him to make a lot of high-end plays and generate plenty of chances, but after watching him more, my concerns about his defensive play have been validated.
He is a stocky build at 6-1 and 192 pounds, but he carries it around pretty well. That being said, I would say his skating could use a lot of work. He almost appears faster with the puck on his stick because of how good his control is. Rather than trying to skate around players, he likes to draw them in and use his hands to get around them. Over and over again, he started the breakout by beating the first man with a quick turn, using his reach to separate the puck from the defender and either sending an outlet pass or rushing the net himself – all in an instant. I believe he will be able to translate this offense to the NHL because he is able to make these plays consistently, and despite a lack of top-end speed, he shows enough deception, variance in routes, and creativity with the puck to dominate in transition.
While he showed good poise walking the blue line and played both sides of defense on the powerplay, I am not sure if he will be a first unit powerplay anchor at the next level. I have yet to see him try and cut open a defense with a high-danger pass and have only seen glimpses of his shot – which almost always ended up blocked. This is surprising to me given how good his hands are, so I will reserve judgment until I get more views.
His defensive game was similarly chaotic. He is very quick to join the rush, to the point that he was behind the opposition’s net more than his own. Clearly, Saginaw has strategized around this and it reminds me a lot of London’s usage of Evan Bouchard in his final two years in the league. Ironically enough, I think Mintyukov will face a lot of similar hurdles to Bouchard in his development; he will also have to work on his skating to keep up with elite NHL forwards when backchecking and iron out the deficiencies in his defensive zone coverage.
There is a lot to like about Mintyukov: he is incredibly skilled and presents a unique profile that I think will be hard for opposing teams to strategize against. He is also a very smart player who makes up for a lack of foot speed with good timing and technique. I do think he will be able to play in the NHL as-is, but work into his skating and defending could turn him into a first-pairing defenseman.
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Otto Salin | RD | HIFK U20 vs. KalPa U20 (U20 SM-sarja) | 2021-12-18
1 G, 2 A, 6 SOG, 21:41 TOI
Eetu Siltanen: Salin had a good game against KalPa, making a great impact on the game with a goal and two assists. He also recorded seven shots on goal. Salin’s good mobility, on-puck skills, and offensive game were on display in this one. He was able to give good breakout passes under pressure but what separates Salin from many other defenders is his puck carrying skills. He can gain a lot of speed with crossovers and on puck retrievals, he accelerates quickly so he can carry the puck up the ice if necessary. Salin likes having the puck and he always wants it on his blade. He also supports the attack a lot, which can make him a bit vulnerable defensively, however.
Salin was great in the offensive zone and he got shots on goal from the point through the traffic. One good example of that was his goal, where he fired a great wrist shot from the blue line off the cycle. He loves to rush aggressively from the blue line and has the ability to create chances from there. His second assist was a good example of that; he rushed from the blue line, attempted a wraparound, and his teammate scored on the rebound. He also gave a couple of nice slot passes to create high-danger chances for his team. Salin manned the point on his team’s other powerplay unit, where he showed solid puck distribution skills.
Even though Salin was very good offensively, his defensive game didn’t really convince me. He didn’t control the gap very well off the rush and despite having a solid frame, he isn’t very strong. He did throw a couple of hits but other than that, his physical play wasn’t great, and he took a tripping penalty after losing a puck battle. There was one really bad mistake as his breakout pass was intercepted, and the opponent scored from the turnover. However, overall Salin’s showing was positive and as I mentioned, his offensive impact was very good.
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Ryan Chesley | RD | USNTDP U18 vs. Youngstown (USHL) | 2022-02-23
0 G, 0 A, 5 SOG, 22:38 TOI
Alexander Annun: Chesley’s performance in this contest was very good and he continues to show potential as a top-four defenceman with his intelligent play.
Chesley really stood out in this game with his decision-making on the puck in all areas of the ice. In his own end, he is very calm on the puck and with pressure bearing down on him he can hit a clean breakout pass to alleviate the pressure or absorb some physical play along the walls and then launch the breakout himself. His passes are incredibly accurate and firm leaving almost no chance for them to be intercepted.
He positioned himself well in his own end and did well to support his partner Lane Hutson if he needed help in a physical battle. Chesley constantly engaged in puck battles along the boards and did well to win a majority of them; he used his sturdy frame to win these possession battles and enable himself to gain control of the puck. He made sure to maintain a nice gap between the attacker and himself to avoid being beaten with speed, but his mobility was enough to keep people at bay throughout this one. While he took a penalty late on a big hit, I liked his physical game and the way he stepped up to throw the body. He did well getting involved in the offense as well, firing off some heavy shots and creeping down low in the zone to provide a backdoor option. He did a great job focusing on his defensive duties in this one to allow his defensive partner the freedom to roam and get creative offensively and he was very much up to the task.
Chesley looked every bit the part of a two-way defenseman in this one and with continued performances like this as the season goes on, he should expect to see his name in the first round on almost all draft boards.
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Jordan Dumais | RW | Halifax vs. Rouyn Noranda (QMJHL) | 2021-11-26
1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, 23:28 TOI
Nick Richard: Dumais is an opportunistic, offensively-minded winger and that was evident early in this game as he put the Mooseheads ahead 2-0 after jumping into a lane to intercept a breakout pass. It was a great read and he made no mistake going in all alone, snapping a quick shot over the opposing netminder’s glove.
That ability to create offense off of mistakes by the opposition was a theme for Dumais on this night. He is an agile skater with quick feet and solid edge work, allowing him to jump around checks and get into lanes to break up passes. When he got the puck in those quick-change situations, he was able to identify his options in short order and find teammates in space with crisp, accurate feeds. Dumais has good vision and keeps mental notes of his surroundings to help him make quicker decisions with the puck and doesn’t need much time to find an open lane.
He picked up an assist on a strong individual effort by Bobby Orr after chipping the puck out of the defensive zone and could have had another after springing Orr on a breakaway not long after that. Dumais positioned himself well as an outlet down low in the defensive zone and after taking the short pass, made one quick handle to his forehand before firing a crisp diagonal stretch pass through two defenders to hit Orr in stride.
On the powerplay, Dumais manned the right flank and was more of a secondary option. When he did curl to the top of the zone to give his point man an outlet, he did well to funnel pucks into the slot and give his teammates a chance to make a play.
A couple of instances notwithstanding, Dumais wasn’t overly involved on the defensive side of the puck and sometimes appeared as if he was just waiting for his team to regain possession. There was a play where he was covering the point man at the top of the zone and anticipated that his pass would be picked off, causing him to take just a couple of steps towards the neutral zone looking for a lead pass. The pass didn’t get intercepted and those couple of steps were enough for his man to beat him down the wall and take a return pass that would lead to a Rouyn-Noranda goal. Dumais did make a great effort later in the game, using his speed to catch a puck carrier from behind on the backcheck.
Overall, this was a solid performance for the Mooseheads winger. His ability to capitalize on mistakes and execute under pressure was on display throughout but I would like to see him forcing more of those mistakes himself because he has the skillset to do it. He is elusive and agile in tight spaces, giving him the ability to play between checks, and though he has good speed, I think he could benefit from improved stride extension. Dumais will have to continue to add strength as he matures, and that could help improve the power in his stride, but his offensive instincts and raw skill are evident.
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Joel Ratkovic Berndtsson | LW | Frölunda J20 vs. Malmö J20 (J20 Nationell) | 2022-02-02
1 G, 0 A, 3 SOG, 18:08 TOI
Alexa Potack: Ratkovic Berndtsson has asserted himself as an offensive threat this season and this game was a great representation of his strengths. He is versatile, playing both wings confidently, and is a key part of the first powerplay unit. Ratkovic Berndtsson recorded three shots on goal, which is just about his average for the season, and one of these shots lit the lamp from the inner edge of the left faceoff circle. Many of his goals come from around the net but he demonstrated his hard shot with this one.
When he wasn’t shooting the puck, he demonstrated creative passing and strong vision. However, this was not always successful. His ability to reach teammates with long passes through defense is impressive but sometimes the surrounding pressure was too much to handle. If he is able to use his judgment on these long passes, that will improve his reliability significantly. In terms of his shorter passing game, he excels. His accuracy is stellar and he is able to find teammates in space with ease. Overall, he has strong puck skills, so his puck movement is an effect of that.
Ratkovic Berndtsson hustles and tries to play the game at a decent pace. He is not the fastest skater on the ice but he works hard to overcome this and has become a valuable asset during puck battles and on the forecheck. His aggression and mobility are positives in many ways but ultimately it needs some refining. He overskated opponents with the puck on multiple occasions, lunging in with his stick and gliding past them.
In addition to overskating on defense, he also did this to his own teammates a couple of times. In one instance, his linemate, 2021 fifth-round pick Liam Dower Nilsson, was rushing into the offensive zone during four-on-four play but Ratkovic Berndtsson was nowhere to be found. He ended up behind both of the defensemen on the ice, leaving Dower Nilsson without a pass option. Mobility is a good skill to possess but this is clearly an aspect of his game that requires polishing.
The winger has a solid foundation built upon compete and offensive ability but all around, his game could use some work. Despite these shortcomings, Ratkovic Berndtsson has strung together a solid season with Frölunda’s J20 club. His 47 points are second on his team and sixth in the league. When looking at mid-round targets, Ratkovic Berndtsson is a name to remember.
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