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2019 Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25: Alex Vlasic at No. 9

The Wilmette native skates well for a 6-foot-6 defenseman and has a great defensive stick to break up plays.

Antti Saarela, left, pushes against Alex Vlasic, right, during the Blackhawks development camp scrimmage Friday, July 19, 2019, at Fifth Third Arena in Chicago.
Brad Repplinger / Second City Hockey

Second City Hockey’s 2019-20 preseason Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the organization’s top 25 players under the age of 25 by Oct. 1, 2019. The rankings are determined by a composite score from six SCH writers and more than 70 readers. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. The six SCH writers will make their ballots public after the series is completed.

Alex Vlasic was a player Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and his scouting staff were interested in all along — the finale to this year’s “On the Clock” series proved as much. Vlasic is 6-foot-6, but he doesn’t move like it. His reach can be an x-factor in the defensive zone, and that same arm length increases the deadliness of his slapshot. He has vision, but at that height, he better.

Vlasic, like most defensemen his height (or taller), will likely end up as a shutdown defenseman, somebody who opponents simply aren’t able to get around. That’s what the Wilmette, Illinois native was this past season, and how he could continue to be used next year in the NCAA.

In a league that keeps getting faster and faster, a defenseman like Vlasic could prove to be an extremely useful asset, especially because, unlike Zdeno Chara or, somebody more in his range, Nicolas Hague of the Chicago Wolves (and eventually Golden Knights), Vlasic actually backs that size up with mobility and solid skating.

But, with smaller, offensive-leaning defensemen like Adam Boqvist, Nicolas Beaudin and Ian Mitchell in the system, isn’t Vlasic exactly what the Blackhawks need? A big and physical player who can anchor the penalty kill and prove to be a stalwart? With an undeniable reach that takes away the play before it even starts, getting the puck to whichever of the smaller defensemen he’s been paired with?

Mitch Brown

Vlasic wasn’t the greatest point producer, but that’s not to say he’s bad at it. It might be that the United States National Team Development Program needed him to play more of a defensive role, which didn’t lead to a natural offensive presence. That’s probably a big part of the reason the Blackhawks were still able to grab him in the second round.

What’s next?

Vlasic needs a few more years of development, which he’ll get in the NCAA, working on the weak spots in his game like transition and getting more time in the offensive zone. He’ll be with fellow Blackhawks prospect Jake Wise for at least next year. Depending upon how his development goes, Vlasic could be pro-level ready in three to four years.


Is Alex Vlasic ranked too low, just right or too high?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    (44 votes)
  • 55%
    Just right
    (225 votes)
  • 33%
    (135 votes)
404 votes total Vote Now