3. Pavel Mintyukov, D, Anaheim Ducks
Hey, weren't we just talking about the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim? Well, these Ducks were supposed to be a bad hockey team this year, but some of these young birds are growing their feathers early.
After one year in juniors, the Ducks decided they had seen enough of Pavel Mintyukov. The 2022 No. 10 overall pick scored 62 points in 67 games with the Saginaw Spirit in his draft year, and followed that up with an 84-point campaign split between the Spirit and the Ottawa 67's this past season. Clearly, the 19-year-old convinced the Ducks' brass that he was ready for The Show, and so far that absolutely seems to be the case.
Mintyukov has played in all seven games for Anaheim so far, scoring one goal and three assists whilst commanding 19:40 of ice time a night. On a team that was defensively the NHL's worst last year, Mintyukov also impressively boasts a plus-2 plus-minus rating.
The young Russian rearguard is also second on the Ducks in on-ice expected goals percentage (64.8 percent), which trails none other than his teammate Carlsson (74 percent). Mintyukov has been head and shoulders above his fellow Ducks defensemen, and as long as that continues, he certainly has a real shot of bringing home his first piece of NHL silverware.