Photo Credit: Tricia Mercuri / Kamloops Blazers
Scouting Report written by Matthew Somma
Fraser Minten is the third player from Kamloops that I’ve done a profile on this year. Of the three, he’s probably the one that gets the least attention, but there’s a possible future for him in the NHL. He fits the mold of a player that can play in all situations and should become a favorite amongst a team’s coaching staff due to his dependability and work ethic. Minten isn’t going to dazzle you with his puck skills or make a lot of highlight reel plays, but he works hard in all three zones and can create a fair amount of offense in the process.
This season, Minten has spent a large amount of time on a line with fellow draft eligible forward Matthew Seminoff. Seminoff, as mentioned in my profile, is a fast-paced winger that does some incredible work on the forecheck as well as along the boards. Minten is there to get to the net and look for Seminoff to strip the puck and make a pass. They’re a dynamic duo for a strong Kamloops team and will only get better as time goes on.
Austin Garrett and I both love think Minten has an NHL projectable game, so I’ve enlisted his help in providing some additional notes on Minten throughout the report. We’ve come to similar conclusions about Minten as a player. We love the fact that he plays like a true NHL bottom six center and we appreciate that he gets to the dangerous areas around the net. Throughout, I’ll be including Austin’s notes as well as video clips to illustrate Minten as a player.
D.O.B – July 5, 2004
Nationality – Canadian
Draft Eligibility – 2022
Weight –185 lbs
Position – Center
Handedness – Left
Minten’s Style of Play
I’d describe Minten as a stabilizing presence. He’s steady, with very little panic in his game. That’s good, because when you play with someone like Seminoff, you have to be ready to adapt to anything on the fly. The two work so well together because Minten knows how to support his teammate and makes adjustments accordingly if Seminoff creates a takeaway out of nowhere. Minten can slow the game down and makes a lot of smart plays, but I wouldn’t call him a slow player. He’s one that makes calculated decisions and usually errs on the side of caution. What stands out about Minten’s game right away is the fact that he loves to play around the net. He’s a strong net front presence that can create offense with ease around the crease. Minten’s best work is done in the low slot, particularly in terms of goal scoring. This is a player that can grind away in front of the net and either score greasy goals or wind up with a primary assist off of one of his rebounds.
I’ve appreciated Minten’s ability to find open patches of ice, where he’ll look to establish himself as a screen, passing option or playmaker. Minten is a smart player that can read the play in all three zones and react to it quickly. He sees the ice well as a playmaker, finding teammates along the wings as well as around the net.
Austin: I generally agree with a lot of what Matt is saying here. Tracking three games of Minten this year he’s largely played a similar role in every game. He’s a one-touch player, who struggles to create offensive opportunities when the puck is on his stick for a prolonged period of time, but can make great, short distance passes to relieve pressure or to jump start a rush. He struggles mightily when it comes being able to escape pressure by carrying the puck, and when pressured he can struggle to put a puck to space or on tape to generate chain-linked plays. However, with time and space or off the puck Minten does show some promise. When he’s paired with Stankoven on Kamloops his game can shine, however away from Stankoven he’s heavily dependent on a dump-and-chase style of game. Overall, his head is in the right place. Almost 20% of all of his passes are to the dangerous parts of the ice, however he’s completing just 16% of those passes. It’s a common theme with Minten: there are times where it can look like he’s a physical, power forward with some one-touch skill and some scoring prowness around the net. There are other times where he looks like a fringe 4th liner whose value is derived strictly from his relentless forecheck and shoot-from-anywhere mentality.
Minten is the best forward that I’ve profiled so far as far as defensive play is concerned. Once again, he can react to passes and shifts in the opposition quickly and will disrupt a lot of offensive opportunities. Minten has an active stick in the defensive zone that can create turnovers, which then result in Kamloops taking over in transition. Time and time again this season I’ve noticed that Minten doesn’t fold under pressure and instead slows the play down and forces the attacking forwards to make mistakes. Minten is getting stronger and as a result, is more willing to engage in the play physically. He’ll work along the boards and win puck battles, or at the very least wear the opposition down. This is a player whose dogged determination in the defensive zone will carry him to the NHL.
Minten’s skating without the puck is a strength, although I would like to see his skating with the puck improve a great deal. He can think too much when the puck is on his stick, slowing him down just enough to kill the offensive momentum that his team had built up. I will say that Minten’s skating in general has improved over the course of the season. I would now consider his skating with the puck to be average and his skating without the puck to be above average, maybe around a 60-70 on a 100-point scale. Minten’s skating likely won’t be a defining trait in his game, but it’ll be strong enough for the NHL.
When Minten has the puck on his stick, his skating could be best described as “poor.” There’s a clear shift in his stride, too. He hunches over and keeps his head down, chugging along at a slow pace while his teammates try to push the pace of play. Take this clip, for example. Watch #16 in white and see how he hunches over and slows the play down once he receives the puck.
Let’s not forget about the fact that he had passing options but went with a dump in instead. These sorts of plays don’t inspire a ton of confidence, to be honest.
These types of plays are frequent in Minten’s game and I almost prefer when his wingers carry the puck up the ice. He can establish a presence in the middle and receive a pass, but I don’t believe that his hockey sense or awareness are good enough to make him a dangerous transition player.
I cannot believe that this shot went in. I understand that it’s a 5v3, but Minten is moving at a snail’s pace through the offensive zone and the Spokane defense decides to give him a clear path and shooting lane. It showcases his speed with the puck, and while I do like his shot release there, it illustrates some of the issues that I have with Minten.
Minten’s finishing ability is below average, in my opinion. He tends to either shoot it into the goalie’s chest or miss the net. Considering a lot of his shot attempts have been in the low slot or around the crease, I would have liked to see him score more this season. He gets decent power behind his shots and has the right mechanics in place, but his accuracy is off and his shot loses power the further away from the net he gets. Minten’s finishing ability certainly won’t keep him from the NHL, and it’s entirely possible that it becomes less of an issue as he continues along in his development. But right now, finishing is a weakness and one that teams need to be wary of. With the way he and Seminoff work together, it’s not unreasonable to expect Minten to have 30 or more goals, which is eight more than he currently has.
Austin: I would add that, to me, his biggest flaw is he can be a negative impact player on controlling offensive entries/exits. Even when he is able to cross a blue line with control himself; it has been the rare occurrence that he’s able to manipulate the next layer of the defense himself without turning the puck over, shooting from low danger, or dumping the puck into the corner. When paired with a player who is able to do that; Minten is very good off the puck at reading plays and able to make quick, simple reads.
To me, Minten is a player that could be a solid fit on an NHL fourth line. His ability to play in defensive situations will be a big deal for NHL coaches looking for players to plug into their lineup. The team that drafts him could be getting a two way center capable of roughly 20-35 points at the NHL level in his prime. In our Winter Rankings, Minten made the cut as an Honorable Mention. I like parts of Minten’s overall game, but I felt like his lower upside wasn’t enough to warrant a ranking in our top 64. With that being said, I do believe that Minten will play in the NHL someday. Teams are always looking for a steady presence in their bottom six and I feel that Minten could be one of those players that could be a call-up option for some teams if he isn’t a full-time NHL player.
Austin: My scouting process usually starts with a list of players that caught my eye the year prior and players that are highly ranked by Central Scouting. From there I tend to make notes of players I see who catch my eye and then circle back to them. Scouting Mats Lindgren and Matthew Seminoff early in the year Fraser Minten was a player who caught my eye. He caught my eye by his ability to generate turnovers and quickly give the puck to a teammate to turn into a scoring chance. Not to mention it doesn’t hurt I caught games when he was playing with Stankoven and his three point night against Calgary in early January. I originally pegged him as a very good third line player, but diving deep into him for this report I’d say that he’s more of a fringe 4th line player. His data isn’t terrible, but he plays a ‘very dump-and-chase and forecheck like hell’ type of game without NHL level puck skill or vision with the puck on his stick. He’s intriguing to me though. His July birthday and the flashes of how he adapts his game to high-end talent to thrive does warrant some optimism. However, I don’t see a projectable offensive game to the NHL and for that he probably falls within a 4th-6th pick for me.
I’m right with Austin as to where I’d consider drafting him. There are some projectable tools in his game, such as his defensive ability and his ability to consistently place himself in the high danger areas. This is a player that I’ve watched a lot this season due to the fact that he plays with Seminoff and Lindgren, and over time, I’ve soured a bit on him. I’ve gone from possible late second round pick to possible third round pick to top 150 pick over the course of the season. If I were a team with a handful of late round picks, I’d take a flyer on Minten. His skating can be improved and you can build on some of his offensive tools and turn him into a nice depth forward for your team. It’s likely that he won’t see the NHL for a while, though. I’d set his timeline at roughly five to six years.
March 5, 2022
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Matthew Somma. If you would like to follow Matthew on Twitter, his handle is @Mattsomma12.
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