It's fairly likely the Blackhawks fans see the first pairing of Seth Jones and Alex Vlasic this season. Jones is locked up and his contract doesn't expire until 2030. Vlasic on the other hand becomes a restricted free agent in 2024. Over the next couple of seasons, Vlasic will get plenty of ice time alongside Jones, and will have plenty of opportunities to make a name for himself with the lack of depth on the back end.
""A smooth skater, he has great vision as well as a decent hockey IQ.""- Future Considerations Hockey - 2019
Vlasic is coming off of a 1 goal, 1 assist season through 15 games with the Hawks last season. His height is the first thing that stood out to me, and many fans alike. He stands at 6'6 and just under 200 pounds, while still being able to skate quite well.
Vlasic was drafted in 2019 at 43rd overall by the Blackhawks after a standout season. He played 27 games with the USNTDP Junior squad and had 15 points. He also played 61 games for the U.S. National U18 team and had 27 points. Over the next three seasons, Vlasic played in the NCAA for Boston University and was named assistant captain in the 2021-22 season. He played 82 games during his stint with Boston and had 20 points, which is a 0.24 PPG average.
I was a fan of Vlasic right away. He has a really hard shot, he is very strong in the defensive zone, and isn't scared to lay down and block shots. This season will be his first full season in the NHL. Playing with Jones, who has been praised for his offensive game, will be the perfect partner for him. Vlasic can hold things down in the D zone, while Jones can be trusted to jump into the play even more. I think these two will compliment each other's game, and you'll see them both take huge steps forward.