Mirnov was expected to go in the first round of the 2003 draft, but fell to the last few picks of the second round. Mirnov had a very productive draft year considering the league in which he was playing.
2001-02: Mirnov spent the better of the season with Dynamo 2 of the Russian junior leagues. There he registered 50 points, including 33 goals in just 30 games. During the annual cycle of under-18 players that is mandatory in the RSL, Mirnov was given a five game look with Dynamo’s main team in the Super league. Though he did not register any points, Mirnov made a great impression, one that would ultimately earn him a permanent spot on the team the following season.
2002-03: Mirnov’s play improved significantly in all areas and he spent the entire season with Dynamo’s main team in the RSL. In his rookie season, Mirnov spent some time playing on a line with Alexander Ovechkin. He managed 10 points and 49 penalty minutes in 50 games with limited ice time, just five points less than the aforementioned Ovechkin. Mirnov also played in five playoff games for Dynamo but did not register any points. Following the season, Mirnov was selected first in the NHL draft by the Ottawa Senators in the second round, then was taken 39th overall by St. Michael’s of the OHL in the CHL import draft.
2003-04: Mirnov gained more ice time in his follow-up season, and was for a while one of the Super League’s most productive players. He was among the league leaders in goals for a period, and looked set to be one of Russia’s go-to players at the World Junior Championships. That all changed when Mirnov suffered a knee injury and was forced to miss the tournament. This is of significant concern with Mirnov, because this was only the latest in a string of knee injuries for the speedy forward. In this instance, Mirnov did not have surgery though, and was back in action reasonably soon afterwards. Mirnov closed out the season reasonably well, finishing with 11 goals and 22 points in 54 Super League games. Mirnov also participated in the 4 Nations tournament as part of Russia’s U20 team.
2004-05: As a go-to player with Dynamo, Mirnov had another solid season, registering 13 goals and 26 points in 55 games. He also showed a defensive side to his game going a +10 for the season. After three previous failed attempts, Mirnov finally carried his strong regular season play into the playoffs. Appearing in seven playoff matches for Dynamo, Mirnov recorded his first playoff points including 2 goals and 3 assists, while going +6.
2005-06: Mirnov was limited to only 32 games in 2005-06. He continued to score at a similar pace as previous seasons, but was unable to match his totals, finishing the season with 18 points. In the playoffs, Mirnov suited up for four contest, picking up two assists in the process.
2006-07: This season was undoubtedly Mirnov’s breakout year as he lead Dynamo in goals (21), points (45) and tied Alexander Kharitonov for first in assists (24). The 45 points placed him in the top ten in the RSL, despite playing a relatively weak team. In the playoffs, Mirnov again lead the way, but his point per game (one goal, two assists in three games) effort was not enough as Dynamo fell in three straight to Lokomotiv.
Mirnov is by no means the big, strapping, power forward the Senators have always coveted. He is a quick, darting forward who loves to shoot the puck. It is his shot that is his biggest weapon. In this respect, he is similar to former Senators youngster Petr Schastlivy. A left-shooting right winger, Mirnov has grown into playing on his off wing, and that allows him to get his shot off on the fly. Although he has solid hands, Mirnov is no Martin Havlat with the puck. He is a goal scorer, but his speed and shot combination is his bread and butter.
Not big, nor particularly physical, Mirnov is unlikely to stick in the NHL unless he is on a scoring line. He lacks the size or strength to be a grinder, and is by no means a defensive stalwart. That is why former Russian Senators prospect Alexei Kaigorodov, with whom Mirnov was often measured, was considered a safer prospect. That being said, if Mirnov were to commit to self-improvement and off-season conditioning, he would stand a significantly better chance at cracking the deep Senators line-up in the near future.
As Mirnov’s career progressed in the RSL, his decision making abilities with the puck vastly improved. He never hesitates to drive to the net and is hard to knock off the puck. A tireless worker, Mirnov plays well along the boards, has added strength and some size, and has developed better on ice vision. His very dangerous, quick release and accurate wrist shot is still his most coveted weapon.