The Florida Panthers selected defenseman Vladislav Kolyachonok in the second round (52nd overall) at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft back in June at Rogers Place in Vancouver.
During his draft season, Kolyachonok played in 53 games with the OHL’s Flint Firebirds and produced 4 goals and 25 assists to go along with 44 PIM and -23 rating.
I had previously done two check-ins (November and January) with Florida’s group of 2019 prospects as they began the 2019-20 season, so we’ll start with that text and then see how he finished off the campaign before it was first postponed on March 12, and then ultimately canceled six days later due to the coronavirus.
November: In 23 games with Flint, the 18-year-old blueliner is already up to six goals. That’s two better than he produced in 53 regular season games last season. Kolyachonk has collected eight assists as well, putting him on pace to eclipse last year’s point total of 29. The Minsk native is currently +3 (he finished -23 last season) and is playing a much more disciplined game for the Firebirds, who are in third place in the Eastern Conference.
January: While his team has dipped a bit in the standings, Kolyachonok has picked up his offensive pace since we last checked in, with 3 goals and 6 assists in 12 games played, which gives him a total of 23 points (9G/14A) in 35 games. The 18-year-old has already set a new OHL career-high in goals and is a good bet to do the same in assists and points despite missing all but one of his club’s December games. Kolyachonok headed home and appeared in two games with Belarus at the World Junior Division IA Championship where he picked up an assist in a win over Austria.
May: Kolyachonok played 18 more games after our January look-see and scored three more times and added seven helpers to finish the season with career OHL-highs in goals (12) and points (33) while again suiting up in 53 games. His jump from 3 to 12 goals was pretty impressive, helping him increase his point-total from 2018-19 by four despite dropping from 25 to 21 assists. After finishing -3 last season, Kolyachonok turned that around by posting a +19 rating, which was the best mark on the team.
Elite Prospects had this to say about Kolyachonok: A speedy and very mobile two-way defenseman. Kolyachonok plays a consistent game and can be trusted in most situations. Plays the body and reads the game fairly well in his own end.
The Panthers signed Kolyachonok to entry-level contract on September 13, 2019. While he showed definite improvement this season, I would expect that the plan is for him to play at least one, if not two more seasons in the OHL before he turns pro. Looks like the Cats have themselves a good one here, so there is no need to rush him.
What does Kolyachonok’s future hold?
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