On the second day of the 2019 NHL Draft, the Florida Panthers selected defenseman Vladislav Kolyachonok with the 52nd overall pick in the second round.
When all is said and done, the Vladislav Kolyachonok pick could potentially turn out as a steal for the Florida Panthers. The recently turned 18-year-old established himself as a high-end talent during the 2018-19 pro-hockey season.
Kolyachonok’s rookie season in the OHL with the Firebirds was certainly a successful one. Offensively speaking, Kolyachonok registered a strong statistical slash line of 4G, 25A, for 29 points in a total of 53 games.
Essentially, Kolyachonok’s offensive skills as a mobile defenseman were quite evident at the OHL level, which explains why TSN had Vladislav rated as the 39th best prospect in the entire draft. In addition, Vladislav Kolyachonok was simply phenomenal in the U18 World Junior Championships.
While representing Team Belarus, Kolyachonok recorded an outstanding line of 1G, 4A, for 5 points in 5 games played. More importantly, Kolyachonok was the captain of Belarus, which conveys that he possesses pure leadership abilities.
Furthermore, Kolyachonok earned himself several awards for his fantastic 2018-19 campaign. Following the conclusion of the OHL season, Vladislav was named to the OHL All-Rookie First Team. Also, Kolyachonok received the prestigious honor of being named a Top 3 Player on Team Belarus for the U18 WJC.
The left-handed shooting defenseman owns tremendous talent offensively but is also a stout defender in his own end. According to various scouting reports, Kolyachonok can shut down opposing forwards by using his large size and smooth skating ability.
Additionally, Kolyachonok is a tremendous passer and could possibly develop into a power-play quarterback at the NHL level.
In essence, he’s most likely 3-4 years away from officially joining the Florida Panthers, as he’ll require further development in the OHL and eventually the AHL level.
Overall, the Kolyachonok selection was a superb value choice by General Manager Dale Tallon, as many scouts had Vlad projected as an early second-round pick.
Panthers fans should be absolutely thrilled with landing a future top-four, two-way defenseman who can make a positive impact at the NHL level in about 3-4 years from now.
Vladislav Kolyachonok is still incredibly young and could certainly improve in the defensive end. Nonetheless, with more experience at the OHL and International levels, Kolyachonok will undoubtedly develop into a more polished, reliable offensive defenseman relatively soon.
Ultimately, the smooth-skating defenseman from Minsk, Belarus is a promising player; one that will become a staple on Florida’s blue line for many years to come.
While the Spencer Knight selection was exciting, the Vladislav Kolyachonok selection might actually be the best pick of the draft by Dale Tallon.