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Aram Minnetian Scouting Report
Aram Minnetian, born on March 19th, 2005, in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, is a defender playing with the US National Team Development Program. The right-shot defender stands at 6’0” and 170 pounds. Minnetian managed to produce seven goals and 24 assists for 31 points across 62 total NTDP games. That includes six assists in 22 USHL games. Last season, he managed to draw into 33 USHL games, scoring two goals and nine total points.
With decent production and playing for a successful program, he’s been ranked between the second and third rounds by outlets and experts. That includes being placed 43rd by McKeen’s Hockey, 44th by Dobber Prospects, 48th by FCHockey, 50th by Elite Prospects, 54th by Recruit Scouting, 55th by Smaht Scouting, Draft Prospects Hockey and Daily Faceoff, 62nd by FloHockey, 63rd by The Hockey News and Hockey Prospect Radio, 74th by Bob McKenzie, and 79th by Craig Button.
Aram Minnetian Deep Dive
Minnetian being ranked late by Button and McKenzie shows that he is likely viewed as a third rounder by most NHL teams. However, the public consensus is evidently much higher than them. Could he be a steal in the later rounds? Why could he be looked at differently by NHL teams and scouts?
Aram Minnetian’s Skating
Minnetian is a fast skater both with and without the puck, and has strong edges as well. He can, at times, skate past forecheckers or defenders (off the rush) with his speed. Additionally, his edges are strong as mentioned, shown by his ability to walk the blue line in the offensive zone, and skate out of tight spots in his own end or neutral zone.
However, he has flaws despite the strengths in his speed and edges. Minnetian isn’t the best skater going backwards, as he struggles gapping up against faster skaters. He often has to open up and angle him from a tough spot. Also, his stride mechanics are interesting. His stride tends to be a bit choppy at times. If he can work on stride length, maximizing his strides, he can not only be faster, but it could help with his back skating.
When it comes to his offensive game, he can be fun to watch at times. With his speed and edges, he’s able to create passing and shooting lanes with his feet. Not only that, but he has decent hands and a lot of confidence and creativity to take risks and be effective with them. Plus, away from the puck, he loves getting involved and stepping into the play as an additional option.
Outside of his creativity and confidence, he is a quite effective shooter. He’s accurate, able to keep shots on net and having a knack for getting it through traffic fairly consistently. What he needs to work on there is the power behind his shot at this point. But he’s already fairly effective, especially when he steps into the play. As for passing, he has a strong ability to quarterback play from the point. Again, he takes risks quite often, attacking the slot with his passes. It doesn’t always connect, but when it does, he can create some dangerous opportunities.
Aram Minnetian’s Transitional Abilities
When it comes to moving the puck, players with good speed and agility, paired with confidence and strong puck skills, are good at moving up the ice. In Minnetian’s case, it’s true. He may not be the most heavily involved with the NTDP, due to how stacked the roster was this past season, but he was very efficient. His confidence, speed, vision as a passer, and puck skills shone through when he navigated up ice. Again, his edges allowed him to change directions to avoid forecheckers, which absolutely helped him.
As for defending the rush, this is where his less-than-ideal back skating popped up as an issue. While he wasn’t totally a liability, he was beaten wide fairly often. While his gap control was usually good, if he was too tight, he was beaten. To add to his struggles, he did not possess an active stick when defending, allowing the opposing forwards to enter without facing much harassment. With Minnetian getting beaten wide, he would struggle to angle from behind the attacker. He needs to bulk up and work on his back skating and stick work to be better against the rush, because he’ll get eaten alive by NHLers like Brayden Point and Connor McDavid.
Minnetian’s Defensive Zone Play
In the defensive zone, Minnetian tends to be all over the place. He gets caught puck watching or chasing at times, giving up his assignments at times. Plus, with his slighter frame, he wouldn’t win those crucial board battles very often. On top of that, he didn’t possess much of an active stick to thwart away passes to the slot. Because of that, teams were able to generate chances in tight to the net at times.
Because of his smaller frame, lack of physicality, not much of an active stick, and poor positional awareness at this time, he can be a liability at times in his own end. Working on his back skating would do wonders for his game. But also, bulking up and being more involved in the board battles in crucial moments would help his game a bit. Finally, becoming more organized in his own end and learning to use his stick more will truly allow him to be better in his own end.
Aram Minnetian’s Potential
Minnetian is a boom-or-bust type. His offensive potential and transitional abilities are exceptional and growing in importance. There is a niche around the league that offensive and puck-moving defenders fit into (look at Shayne Gostisbehere and Tony DeAngelo). Every team would love to have that high-end offensive dynamo on the back end, like a Cale Makar type.
That being said, he can be a defensive liability at times. Getting a chance to play NCAA hockey with Boston College next season will allow him to focus on his defensive game and bulking up. That might be the best thing for him and his game. That being said, he could be a middle-pairing defender that brings offensive upside. But he needs a massive improvement to his defensive game for that to be realized.
The best NHL comparable for Minnetian at this point is Shayne Gostisbehere. That’s based solely on style and not a projection of skills. Gostisbehere is an excellent puck mover and a dynamic offensive presence from the back end. However, he lacks a strong defensive ability, making him a specialty defender. He’s used for the power play and off offensive zone draws, and is deployed when his team needs an offensive push.
However, Gostisbehere isn’t a total liability in his own end. Minnetian needs to be better, especially against the rush. That’s if he wants to make it to the next level, never mind the NHL. But if he can, and he gets an opportunity at the next level, he could be that specialty defender deployed for offensive situations.
Raw stats via Elite Prospects
Main Photo: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports