2018-19 Team: U.S. National Development Team (#7)
Date of Birth: June 5, 2001
Place of Birth: Wilmette, Illinois
Ht: 6-foot-6 Wt: 198 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2019 first-year eligible
- The Hockey Writers (Pike’s Picks): 30th (final)
- Future Considerations: 34th (final)
- ISS: outside of first round (April)
- Bob McKenzie: outside of top 15 (April; draft lottery update)
- Craig Button: 53rd (June)
Hockey players, like people in the wider population, mature and develop at different rates. Not everybody is a finished product physically when they turn 18, which can sometimes make it challenging at the NHL Draft to project how someone’s going to develop.
Alex Vlasic of the U.S. National Development Program likely won’t have that problem. Already a towering physical presence at 6-foot-6 and 198 pounds, NHL clubs have a pretty good idea that he’ll be a big body on their blueline. Now, it’s just a matter of allowing his game to catch up with his considerable physical development.
Compared to the rest of the high end talent from the 2019 edition of the National Development Program, Vlasic is a bit raw and in need of refinement. Offensively, he’s the fifth or sixth best-performing player on the team. But because of his size – and surprising mobility given that size – he’s one of the better pure defenders the program has had in recent memory.
Related: Our Free NHL Draft Guide
The downside for Vlasic is that he ends up being a solid two-way defender who you can rely upon to get the puck out of his own end. But if he can figure out how to play a puck-moving game, his considerable physical gifts will give him a big advantage.
Vlasic is a project. He’ll likely need a year or two in college – he’s committed to Boston University – to fill out physically and figure himself out. If an NHL club drafts him and is willing to be patient, he could mature into a really impressive, complete player.
Alex Vlasic – NHL Draft Projection
Depending on the projection, Vlasic could go as early as the late first round or as late as the middle of the second round. The consensus seems to be that he’ll probably go early in the second round
“Rangy D-man whose straight skating plays well on both sides. He’s still growing into his body and agility will come with maturity. There’s some untapped offensive upside there, but he has no problem playing with a defence-first mentality, which has served his cousin Marc-Edouard well in San Jose.” – Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet
- He’s a big, big fella who’s getting used to his body.
- Surprisingly mobile for a player of his size.
- Smart positional player.
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Sometimes a bit too tentative in the offensive zone.
- Needs to add a bit of meanness to his game.
Other 2019 NHL Draft Profiles
Vlasic projects as a two-way defender. If he can add to his offensive skill-set a bit, he could become a strong second pairing NHLer. Stylistically, he resembles cousin Marc-Eduoard Vlasic.
Risk – 1/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense 8/10, Defense 8.5/10
Vlasic has represented the United States at the World Under-17 Challenge and the Under-18 Worlds – he captured gold at the U17s and bronze at the U18s.
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.