Krystofer Kolanos was drafted by the Coyotes in 2000 and was supposed to be franchise’s gamechanger, unfortunately that never panned out. Kolanos holds one of the most high profile moments in franchise history, beating Patrick Roy on a penalty shot that caused Roy to go nuts and be ejected.
College Career and NHL Draft
The then Phoenix Coyotes made Kolanos their first round selection at number 19 overall of the 2000 draft. He had a successful college career at Boston College, including 50 points in 2000-01 (25 goals, 25 assists) and scoring the winning goal in the 2001 Frozen Four Championship. Many scouts touted him as a smooth skater with excellent hands and good size.
Welcome to the NHL
Kolanos made the NHL roster in his first camp with the Coyotes. He was off to a fantastic start earning Rookie of the Month honors in November 2001. But then it all changed a dirty hit from the Sabres Vaclav Varada blindedsided Kolanos and sent him head first into the boards. He returned early from post-concussion syndrome on March 30, 2001 to help the Coyotes win 5-3 and score the famous goal vs Roy, but he wasn’t the same.
The post-concussion syndrome symptoms were so bad that he could barely walk. After the famous goal, he returned to the injury report. He played in only two games of the 2001-02 postseason, notching zero points. In 2002-03 he was limited to only two games the entire season after a second concussion in the preseason. He played 73 games combined between the AHL and NHL in 2003-04, but many said his game wasn’t the same. He seemed to play afraid to go into take another hit.
He spent the lockout in the Swedish SM-Liiga for the Blues and stayed the following year in the German DEL for the Penguins. He totaled 22 games, 10 goals, 11 assists in his time in Europe and his play still seemed out of sorts. He returned to the AHL in 2005-06 as well as the 2006-07 seasons before returning to Europe and the Swiss league after not being able to make the jump back to the NHL. In 2008-09 he finally returned to the NHL for the Wild, scoring 3 goals and 3 assists in 21 games.
The Injury Bug Strikes Again
Unfortunately in 2009-10 he was hampered by injury again, this time his hip. He ended up having an impingement that chewed up most of the cartilage. He had successful microfracture surgery, but missed the entire 2010-11 season. Many said at the time that the injury took the remainder of his foot speed which was already limited, but he was able to return to the NHL with his hometown Flames in 2011-12 for 13 games scoring one assist. He returned to the AHL and spent time in the KHL for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) July 23, 2012
Regrettably, Kolanos was never able to return to the promise that he had as a youngster who burned a Hall of Famer all those years ago, but he will always hold a special place in Coyotes franchise lore.