Vladimir Alistrov is a man of few words, so instead he let his play do the talking in his rookie WHL campaign in 2018-19.
The Edmonton Oil Kings took notice to the Mogilev, Belarus native after an impressive 2017-18 season which saw him register 50 points (21G, 29A) in 36 games for the Belarus U17 team, followed by an output of 20 points (10G, 10A) in 14 games with the U18 squad.
At the U18 World Championship, he garnered even more attention by registering three goals and seven points in five tournament games.
The 6-foot-2, 176 pound native of Mogilev, Belarus became the Oil Kings first pick in the 2018 CHL Import Draft with the second overall selection in the first round, making him the second Belarussian import to dress for the team in the 2018-19 campaign, along with fellow countryman Andrei Pavlenko.
It was a new country and a new League, but it didn’t take Alistrov long to make an impression on the scoresheet. His first WHL goal came in just his fourth career game, and it was the first of many goals that would make the highlight reel during the course of the season.
His first career WHL goal was certainly a milestone, but not the only one he would achieve during the year.
Alistrov would register seven multi-point games as a rookie, including his first three-point game (1G, 2A) on February 26 vs. the Swift Current Broncos, which gave him a season-high four-game point streak with three goals and five assists for eight points during that span.
While he adjusted well to the North American game in his first season, he also had the opportunity to once again play internationally as he and Pavlenko were both selected to represent their country in the IIHF U20 World Championship (Division 1 – Group A) in December.
He continued to turn heads, registering a pair of goals and four assists for six points in five tournament games helping Belarus claim a silver medal.
Producing at better than a half-a-point-per-game pace (0.61) in his rookie year, not only did he provide depth to an Oil Kings squad who went to the Eastern Conference Championship, but he did so with a number of draw-dropping plays and silky smooth snipes.
The push for the Central Division crown began months – not weeks – before the end of the regular season, and when the team was on the national stage Alistrov ensured fans couldn’t look away.
His skill, play-making ability and frame made him a focal point not only for fans but for scouts as well.
The first year draft eligible prospect was listed on NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings and Players to Watch list throughout the entirety of the season.
Alistrov would cap off the 2018-19 season finishing ninth on the team in goals (12), seventh in points (38), and tied for fifth in assists (26).
He was named the Oil Kings Rookie of the Year, and hopes to hear his name called by an NHL team in advance of his sophomore season in the WHL in 2019-20.