The 18-year-old defenseman spent the last two seasons playing for the United States Development Program.

The 2nd round of the NHL Draft has been very good to the Chicago Blackhawks in recent years. Ian Mitchell was picked in the 2nd round in 2017, while Alex DeBrincat and Chad Krys were 2nd-round picks in 2016. Brandon Saad was also selected 43rd overall way back in 2011. The Blackhawks hope to have another 2nd-round gem in defenseman Alex Vlasic.

Alex Vlasic, the cousin of San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, is a defensive defenseman that is extremely mobile for his size. At 6-foot-6, Vlasic uses his large frame to protect the front of the net and block shots. He takes advantage of his long reach by frequently disrupting passing and shooting lanes. All in all, Vlasic is a big and mobile defenseman, which is what the Blackhawks have needed for some time now.

“He’s a massive individual with an unbelievable defensive stick to break up plays. He’s got a physical edge. He can play an offensive style and takes chances. For a big man, his skating is off the charts good; it’s very fluid,” said USNTDP coach John Wroblewski.

Many NHL scouts had Alex Vlasic going in the first round of the draft. He’s not an offensive wizard on the backend, but he’s capable of chipping in. The Illinois-born defenseman possesses great vision in the offensive zone and has a solid hockey IQ. Vlasic recorded 27 points (4G, 23A) in 61 games with the USNTDP last season. Here’s a look at some of Vlasic’s highlights for the U.S. Development Program.

Alex Vlasic will have time to further develop by playing college hockey for the next few seasons. During his post-draft interview, Vlasic said that he expects to spend two years at Boston University. Two years in a program like BU’s could do wonders to Vlasic’s game. There’s no rush to get Alex Vlasic to the NHL level.

Overall, this is a strong selection by the Chicago Blackhawks. Stan Bowman addressed another need by adding size and speed to the backend. The lengthy left-handed defenseman could be a staple of the Blackhawks defense later on down the road.

Alex Vlasic, welcome home!

For more Blackhawks news and updates, follow the author (@JackBushman2) on Twitter. Make sure to check out the author’s podcast, Talkin’ Hawkey, which can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Twitter (@TalkHawkey).