During the 2021 offseason, the Arizona Coyotes made several moves to shake up their roster. One of the bigger ones was the acquisition of Anton Strålman from the Florida Panthers, a veteran defenseman who was expected to be a significant contributor for the Desert Dogs. But Strålman didn’t come over by himself; with him was a young defenseman named Vladislav Kolyachonok.
Games Played: 32
TOI/Games Played: 15:51
PP TOI: 0:33
PK TOI: 16:32
Kolyachonok was drafted 52nd overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. After spending his next season with the Flint Firebirds in the OHL, Kolyachonok played 46 games with HC Dinamo Minsk in the KHL during the 2020-21 season, along with ten games in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch.
A full Coyotes’ blue line meant that Kolyachonok would start his time in Arizona with the Tucson Roadrunners. He played well with the lower club, and through 33 games, he had two goals and 12 assists.
But like so many players this season, Kolyachonok would get a chance to show what he could do with the big club. On January 12th, he made his NHL debut against the Toronto Maple Leafs. His first stay with the Coyotes was only a week; on the 19th, he was back in Tucson with the Roadrunners.
But that would only last about a month. On February 20th, Kolyachonok suited up against the Henderson Silver Knights, where he registered an assist. It would be his last game in Tucson for the rest of the season.
Kolyachonok would register his first NHL point in his first game back, notching an assist against the Los Angeles Kings. Four days later, he would get his second assist against the Winnipeg Jets, and a month later, his first NHL goal against the Calgary Flames.
In his 32 games with the Coyotes, Kolyachonok would prove to be an effective two-way defenseman. He wasn’t the flashiest player, but he wasn’t a liability and contributed when he could.
Kolyachonok was primarily deployed 5-on-5 during the season. He barely played on the power play and only averaged 31 seconds of PK time per game.
Kolyachonok is under contract for two more seasons on a very cheap deal. He had a solid debut with the Coyotes, but he will need to continue getting better if he wants to transition to full-time NHLer. He is still young and has a great foundation to build on, but we still aren’t sure what his ceiling will be.
The Coyotes have too many defensemen under contract, and Kolyachonok doesn’t need to clear waivers, so there is a chance that he will start the season with the Roadrunners again. But if he can earn a roster spot out of training camp, he will need to play hard because plenty of players will be looking to take his spot next season.