2018-19 Team: Flint Firebirds (#18)
Date of Birth: May 26, 2001
Place of Birth: Minsk, Belarus
Ht: 6’2” Wt: 181 lbs.
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2019 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 22nd (among North American skaters)
- Future Considerations: 82nd
- Dobber Prospects: 51st
- ISS: 27th
- Bob McKenzie: 39th
- Craig Button: 34th
The road was a little more travelled when it comes to Vladislav Kolyachonok and his journey to the NHL Draft. From Belarus to the London Knights, he was waived by his first OHL team and quickly picked up by the Flint Firebirds organization.
There, he played 53 games for the Firebirds during his first OHL regular season, tallying four goals and 29 points to go along with 44 penalty minutes which lands him where he is now – a young defenceman itching for a chance to play for an NHL franchise.
And it might not be a farfetched dream for the 17-year-old. His size alone – once he fills out – could be a major piece that teams look at when drafting defenceman out of this year’s pool. Standing at six-foot-two and 181 pounds, he has some filling out to do, but could make for a big body on the blue line with some offensive upside.
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While he needs to continue to work on consistency in his own zone, his long reach, speed and agility should make him an easy project for any team willing to take a chance on him. After all, he’s basically just a puzzle with the pieces just needing to be put together properly. With the right development program and system, Kolyachonok could end up being an interesting pick a little further down in the draft.
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Vladislav Kolyachonok – NHL Draft Projection
His size alone could push him up the list a bit, but don’t let the lack of success for the Firebirds this season damper your thoughts on what Kolyachonok can do. His offensive prowess and the ceiling he has to be a defensive wonder should land him somewhere in the second half of the second round – between picks 47 to 50.
“From Game One, Kolyachonok’s transition to the smaller North America rinks and two-way style of play was seamless. Most European players go through an adjustment period but with his elite mobility, speed and a strong understanding of his postion, it allowed him to step right in as if he were a seasoned veteran.” – Karl Stewart/NHL Central Scouting
“There’s always going to be a transition for any player, let alone a player that’s moving halfway across the world to play, but [Vladislav] just seems to be adapting really well. He’s adapted to the game on the ice. He’s adapted to the day-to-day plan overall with our team. He’s adapted to that really well. He’s adapted to the school part of things, the food, everything. There’s a lot of things involved in just the transition for a guy like [Vladislav].” – Barclay Branch/Flint Firebirds general manger
“Kolyachonok is an intelligent player. His positioning in the defensive zone is very sound. His skating allows him to angle opponents off – difficult to beat one-on-one. He uses a very active stick to defend and closes lanes smartly and quickly. His transitioning from defence to offence is excellent. He has the ability to skate out of danger and out of the zone, but he is also capable of making an excellent first pass. He is also a left shot defender who plays as strong on his off side.” – Dominic Tiano/OHL Writers
- Speed and agility
- Poise under pressure
- Offensive game
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Defensive position
- Fill out his frame
While he’s not the highest-ranked defenceman in the draft by any means, Kolyachonok still has the potential to land in a three or four spot on an NHL team at some point in his career. Now, that’s not to say he’s going to break in in that role, nor that it’ll be something that happens right off the hop, but he has the ability to be a fringe top-four defenceman. Add some size, consistency and grit in his own zone and landing on the second pairing is certainly not out of the question.
Risk – 3.5/5 | Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 7/10 | Defence – 7/10
While they might not be the most recognized accomplishments to some, there are two worth mentioning when talking about Kolyachonok. The first was back in 2016-17, when he won a silver medal with Belarus at the European Youth Olympic Festival. The second was on a bit more of an international stage in 2017-18 when he was named as one of the top three players on his team at the U18 World Junior Hockey Championship, scoring a goal and adding an assist in five games for his country.