23-Year-Old Center – Tampa Bay Lightning
Vladislav Namestnikov Contract Information:
Signed a one-year, two way contract with the Lightning in July 2015. Contract is worth $874,125 at the NHL level.
Namestnikov scored his first goals in 11 games when he potted two in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Panthers on Saturday night.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Namestnikov got off to a hot start in the AHL last season, picking up a remarkable 19 points in his first 13 games. Surgery for a broken hand kept him on the sidelines for five weeks, but we're confident he would have finished in the league's top-five scorers had he played the whole season. Even so, the talented playmaker may not earn a gig in Tampa to start this season. He's talented enough to be there, but Steven Stamkos is healthy, and that will bump Namestnikov down the depth chart of centers. He may be best served to dominate a full season in the AHL, but that doesn't diminish his value in dynasty leagues. He'll be a point-per-game playmaker in his prime -- stash him away.
Namestnikov is yet another supremely-talented young Russian forward the Bolts have boldly stashed away. He's still a distance from the NHL, but like fellow countryman, Nikita Kucherov, he has first-line upside. The two are different players -- Namestnikov would be considered the playmaker while Kucherov the sniper. So his keeper value is tied to your league format. We'd put Kucherov a notch higher simply because of his sniping. But the two might end up being equally valuable in three season's time. Watch him in the AHL this season to see how his game grows.
Namestnikov is a whole lot closer to a job in Tampa than fellow Russian prospect Nikita Kucherov. Namestnikov isn't quite as talented as Kucherov, but he's awfully close. Combine that with his willingness to leave Russia and play in North America, specifically in the pro-style system of the London Knights, and willingness to play with an edge, and you have a potential top-line playmaker. His speed will impress in camp and he'll press for a job this fall. But we fully expect him to toil -- and dominate -- in the AHL in 2012-13.
Namestnikov has those trademark one-on-one skills – elite playmaking, great vision and exceptional lateral speed – of an elite offensive Russian hockey forward. But his game also has some holes. His lateral speed isn’t equaled straight ahead and he’s not the fleetest of skaters. He’s skinny (170 lbs) for a six-footer, something that sets off a few alarm bells for a guy who’s older than most of his draft class. And his shot is well below average. Still, he could be a Mikhail Grabovski-like waterbug without the snipes if he can grow his game. And his bloodlines -- son of a former NHLer (John) and nephew of Slava Kozlov -- speak to his potential.