The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Mile High Hockey writing staff. Our writers, plus a special vote from the readers, ranked players under the age of 25 as of September 1, 2017 in the Colorado Avalanche organization. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. Now, we’ll count down each of the 25 players ranked.
All 30 (at the time) NHL teams passed over Andrei Mironov in the entry draft two years in a row. The third time was the charm for the 6’2, 198 lb defender as he was selected in the fourth round, 101st overall in the 2015 Entry Draft by the Colorado Avalanche. He had played three seasons in the KHL with Dynamo Moscow prior to being drafted, as well as two afterwards. The 2016-2017 season was not kind to Mironov as he spent most of the regular season sidelined with injury, only appearing in 18 games. He returned and contributed just in time for the playoffs for Dynamo, appearing in 9 games before losing to SKA Saint Petersburg in the Conference Semi-Finals, who would go on to become the eventual champions.
Calling Mironov a punishing, grueling-to-play-against defensemen does not even come close to telling the whole story. He is a prototypical stay-at-home defender with the skating and puck skills to get himself out of trouble in his own zone. Being overaged when drafted, many felt as though he might make the transition to North America sooner, but his lackluster offensive production brought those ideas to a halt, only earning 40 points in 196 games in his KHL career. Those concerns should still be very real, as not much has changed on the opposing side of the blue line for Mironov.
The Avalanche signed Mironov to a 2-year, $925,000 Entry-Level Contract soon after the regular season ended for the NHL. Before the signing, there were questions on whether or not he would even make the switch from Russia, explaining why he slipped in his draft class.
I didn’t call him one of the Russian Bash Brothers, along with Nikita Zadorov, for no reason. Mironov has an absolutely lethal hip check. I mean really. It is his biggest tool and his strength. There is nothing like seeing a classic, old school hip check and the defender certainly delivers, maybe to a fault. When he has a good check lined up, he most definitely is a heat-seeking missile, but they are also aimed very low, mostly at or below the knees, which could get him in trouble in the NHL. Nevertheless, the dream of Zadorov and Mironov playing on the same line, terrorizing opposing forwards, is just a pipe dream, as they both play on the left side.
Mironov will be looking to make the NHL out of training camp this year, which is no guarantee. As stated earlier, his offensive capabilities are still reason for concern which may earn him a spot in the AHL, playing with the San Antonio Rampage this season. His veteran status in the KHL may work in his favor though, as he has a KHL All-Star game and a Gagarin Cup to his name. Time will tell with Mironov, as he is still young and his North American career is just beginning.