Welcome to the no. 11 of our Top 25 Under 25 countdown here at The Cannon! Thanks to the more than 120 of you who participated in our reader poll. Throughout the month of August, we’ll reveal a new player each weekday based on your ranking.
#11 Vitaly Abramov
11th out of 55 eligible players (1588 points)
Highest placement: #3 (1 ballot)
Most common placement: #15 (12)
Birthdate: May 8, 1998
Birthplace: Chelyabinsk, Russia
Weight: 172 lbs
Position: Right Wing
Acquired: Drafted by Columbus, 2016, Round 3, #65 overall
We’ve heard about the big-time prospects of forward Vitaly Abramov. At just 19-years of age a season ago, Abramov was not eligible to play for Cleveland last season. Instead, he took to the Juniors, where he scored 78 points (33 goals, 45 assists) in 40 games for Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL.
Just as Pierre-Luc Dubois found a breakthrough upon his second Blue Jackets training camp nearly one year ago, Abramov embarks on a similar trek. After coming up a tad short in persuading the bosses he was ready for the NHL after a second round of training camp, the 5’9”, 172-pounder flashed more than skill and potential as he underwent another year of seasoning in the QMJHL.
“I was a leader and I learned how to be a leader on the team. It was a big thing for me.” — Vitaly Abramov, The Columbus Dispatch
“He has the quickness. He has the heart. He’ll go against anybody, no matter what size they are. That’s something you can’t teach. That comes out of his heart.” — Chris Clark, The Columbus Dispatch
He also got time at center, learning the full 200-foot game, and playing without the puck. Said Clark:
“The biggest thing for him to learn was to play on both sides of the puck. When he has the puck, he’s an edge-of-your-seat type of player. When he gets the puck, he moves and creates things. He had to learn to play without the puck and play defense and be a leader that way.”
Abramov was dealing with a wrist injury which he had surgery on earlier in the offseason, and is said to be ready for the start of training camp.
So it’s not a question of if, but when Abramov is in the lineup for Columbus, and that appears to be in this upcoming 2018-19 season. We’ll see how things shake out in training camp, but expect for the next dynamic Russian-weapon to be unleashed among the Union Blue.