Everett was already excited about its defensive unit.
Add Artyom Minulin to the mix and it’s comfortably in the upper echelon of the WHL.
“I think we already have an exciting D-corp that I would put up against anybodies in this league, and to add another experience defenseman in that backend really bolsters us,” said assistant coach Louis Mass, who primarily runs the defense.” And maybe he brings a different dimension to that group as well.”
The overage blueliner, whose rights were acquired by the Silvertips on Wednesday from Swift Current in exchange for 17-year-old defenseman Alex Moar, was second among Broncos defenseman with 43 points last second and was first the year before with 50. The Tyumen, Russia native is a noted goal scorer for a defenseman, potting 21 over the last two seasons.
“The guys are excited,” defenseman Wyatte Wylie said. “Anytime you welcome a guy with that skill level, it’s exciting. Obviously we played against him last year and he’s very tough to play against. … He’s a very big body who can obviously move the puck well and skate pretty well. He’s going to be a good weapon.”
Adding Minulin, who’s listed at 6-foot-2, 201 pounds, adds even more size to the Silvertips, who already possess six players 6-foot-2 or taller and 200 pounds or heavier.
Khaira, who was traded to the Silvertips from Swift Current in the offseason, didn’t often share a defensive pairing with Minulin — they are both right-handed, but shared plenty of shifts with him in other situations and was bullish and what he’ll bring to the Silvertips.
“The more the merrier,” Khaira said. “He’s a high-class defenseman. We have a lot of those here. The more depth the better is the one thing I’ve learned from our run last year. He’s a great player, great guy and we’re excited to have him.
Reaction from Swift Current
With Swift Current in total rebuild mode following last season’s Memorial Cup run — the Broncos are last in the WHL with three points, it made sense to deposit the 20-year-old asset. Especially considering Everett had an open overage spot and European player spot and Minulin fits both of those distinctions.
When Minulin was hurt in the Pats series the Broncos suffered defensively immediately. When he didn’t play games 3 & 4 in Lethbridge they gave up 5 goals in both games. So he battled through on one good shoulder & was a hugely underrated part of the winning formula. A warrior.
— Shawn Mullin (@shawnmullin) October 31, 2018
“We know Arty was a big part of this organization, and it makes it really difficult on my end of it,” Swift Current head coach and director of hockey operation Dean Brockman told SwiftCurrentOnline.com. “At the end of the day, Arty’s desire to get an NHL contract, and just try to be on the team that could get him there… we’re not in a situation where we could do that for him.”
The Silvertips had to part with Moar, a young defenseman that struggled to find playing time in Everett. His contributions didn’t go unnoticed by the coaching staff, though.
“Alex Moar was a really solid player and a good young talent that I think is going to be a good young player for us moving forward,” Mass said. “I really appreciate what he did for us when he was here, too.”
Moar was a coveted piece in the trade, according to Brockman.
“(Moar) is a guy that’s going to play on our powerplay, he’s a puck-moving guy, he does some dynamic things at times,” he told the newspaper. “Certainly a guy that competes really hard – he doesn’t have the big structure or any of that, but he doesn’t like to lose, so that’s a big part of it. He’s a player that always wants to get better, and we have time for those guys every day. In my small discussion with him today, he was really excited to come to Swift Current.”