Vladimir Mihalik
Holly Gunning

Vladimir Mihalik


Presov Slovakia

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1st round (30th overall), 2005


245 lbs.

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2003-04: Mihalik played for HC Presov, the same club that produced Ladislav Nagy, in Slovakia’s U-18 league. He scored 2 goals with 11 assists and had 66 PIM in 44 games.

2004-05: Mihalik split the season between HC Presov’s U-20 and senior squads in the Slovakian league. He scored 6 goals with 10 assists and 44 PIM in 23 games at the U-20 level before joining the men’s team for the remainder of the season. He scored 3 goals with 1 assist and 24 PIM in 32 league games for HC Presov and had 1 assist with 2 PIM in six playoff games. Mihalik played for Slovakia in the Four Nations Cup in November and at the WJC U-18 tournament. He had no points with 10 PIM but was +2 and was a physical presence on defense for Slovakia in the tournament. Mihalik was drafted by the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL in the first round (36th overall) of the CHL import draft.

2005-06: Mihalik moved to North America to play with the Red Deer Rebels after being selected in the NHL Entry Draft by the Lightning. Mihalik scored 3 goals with 9 assists and was -12 on a Red Deer team that finished last in its division. He had 86 PIM in 62 games for the Rebels. Mihalik played for Slovakia at the WJC U-20 tournament and had 3 assists with 8 PIM in six games. Mihalik was traded from Red Deer to Prince George in June.

2006-07: Mihalik started the season with a strong performance with Tampa Bay’s prospects in Traverse City and at Tampa Bay’s camp before joining his new WHL team, Prince George. He suffered a shoulder separation four games into the season but returned after the injury to have a solid defensive season while at the same time contributing to the Cougars offense. Mihalik scored 7 goals with 19 assists and was +2 with 91 PIM in 53 games as Prince George rebounded from a slow start to reach the playoffs. In the Cougars’ surprising run to the WHL Western Conference finals, he scored 1 goal with 2 assists and was -3 with 17 PIM in 15 games.

2007-08: Mihalik spent his first pro season with Norfolk (AHL). After missing time early in the season due to a groin injury, he tallied 1 goal with 15 assists and was a team-high +9 with 68 PIM in 68 games for the Admirals. Mihalik had his first professional multi-point game (two assists) on Nov. 23 vs. Springfield.

2008-09: Mihalik opened the season with the Lightning for their two-game, season-opening series against the New York Rangers in Prague before being returned to Norfolk. He spent the bulk of the season with the AHL club with the exception of brief call ups to the parent club in January and April. Mihalik had 3 assists and was -3 with 6 PIM in 11 games with Tampa Bay. In the AHL, he scored 2 goals with 13 assists and was -4 with 58 PIM in 68 games for Norfolk.

2009-10: Mihalik returned to Norfolk for his third pro season, spending the entire season with the Admirals before appearing in four games with the Lightning at the end of the year. He had no points with 2 PIM and was -4 in the four games with the Lightning. 
Mihalik scored 2 goals with 16 assists and was +6 with 67 PIM in 75 games with Norfolk. Mihalik made his national team debut for Slovakia at the World Championships in Germany and had 1 goal with 4 PIM and was -1 in six games. Slovakia finished twelfth in the tournament.

Talent Analysis

Mihalik is a tall (6'7") defender who has been a work in progress since being drafted in the first round in 2005. With the expected mobility issues of someone that tall and limited stickhandling and pass receiving skills, he was drafted mainly because of his potential to punish opposing forwards and provide an impediment to the attack in his own end. While Mihalik's skill level has improved by leaps and bounds since his days in Slovakian junior hockey, he has not yet been able to show the atleticism and quick decision-making skills necessary to counter NHL forwards on a consistent basis. Mihalik has developed some offensive aspects to his game and has a very heavy and accurate slapshot - though his long windup and slow release make him susceptible to turnovers. Critics of Mihalik have focused on his reliance on stickchecking, rather than using his physical stature and strength to impose his will and punish opposing forwards, as something that needs improvement. Despite a lack of huge, highlight type body checks, Mihalik can play a mean, physical, and overall disciplined game in his end of the ice. Mihalik still gets caught periodically in bad positioning at times but has improved in that area since his reckless days of running around in junior hockey.


Mihalik will enter his third Tampa Bay training camp competing with two other former first-round picks (Matt Lashoff and Ty Wishart) for a spot on the Lightning blueline. Of the three, Mihalik is most purely a shut-down, stay-at-home defenseman. Like fellow countrymen Kristian Kudroc, Zdeno Chara, and Boris Valabik, Mihalik has the boom-bust potential - his size would seem ideal to being a Hal Gill or Chara-like defenseman who takes up space and keeps opposing forwards in the least dangerous parts of the ice. To reach that point, Mihalik will have to lessen the number of breakdowns and continue to improve his anticipation skills.