How far will the Rangers get this season?

Possible First Round Pick: Vladislav Namestnikov

Vladislav Namestnikov (Via

Vladislav Namestnikov (Via

The Rangers currently have five defensemen under the age of 28 on their roster and two more top prospects on the way, so it’s very likely New York will be looking to add some offensive firepower with its first-round pick, No. 15 overall in the NHL Draft.

Between now and June 24th, we’ll take a look at some of the forwards that the Rangers might be thinking about taking on draft day.  Today, we look at…

Vladislav Namestnikov

HT: 6-0

WT: 170

Pos: C

Shoots: L

Birthday: 11/22/92

Team: London, OHL

2009-2010 stats: 11g, 6a, 26gp (Khimik, Russia 1)

2010-2011 stats: 30g, 38a, 68gp, 49PIM, +12

2010-2011 playoffs: 1g, 4a, 6gp, 6PIM profile > 



The Hockey News: 36

CSS: 11 Midterm Rank: 17


TSN: 31 Midterm Rank: 34 

TSN (Craig Button): 23 

The Scouting Report: 17 Midterm Rank: 39 

Bruins 2011 Draft Watch: 29

Corey Pronman: 23 

ESPN: 20


Highlight Reel > 


What They’re Saying:

THN – “The London Knights don’t often rebuild under the Hunter brothers, but this was a down season.  Vladislav Namestnikov, however, was a bright spot, finishing a close second on the Knights in points and first at plus-12.  The Russian import, who’s the son of former NHLer John Namestnikov and the nephew of Slava Kozlov, also looked dangerous at the CHL top prospects game in Toronto, where is skill and creativity were on full display.  ‘He’s a niftier, offense-type of center,’ said one scout.  ‘He does work in all areas of the ice, but his ability to make plays either individually or as a playmaker is his biggest asset.’  Overall strength is an issue with Namestnikov and based on scouts’ expectations, he underwhelmed a bit at the start of the year, even though his numbers were strong.  The fact the Knights have churned out NHLers will also work in is favor in terms of development and he even had a Russian mate on London in goalie Igor Bobkov.”

The Scouting Report – “Namestnikov is a player that certainly grew on us as the year went on. If you only see him once or twice, you might not get an appreciation for the little things he does well which make him such a valuable player. Namestnikov is an effortless skater with tremendous agility; something that is very evident whenever you see him. He sees the ice well but is a very creative player and makes a lot of nifty little plays that may raise your eye-brows. Some of his other qualities come in the form of being a very good stick checker and having great anticipation. Some people have compared him to Datsyuk, and his style probably isn’t too far off. Adding strength is priority number one for Namestnikov right now, as he is often outmuscled at the junior level.”

Bruins 2011 Draft Watch –“Skilled Russian came over to the OHL this season and played very well, finishing second to Bruins prospect Jared Knight (25 goals 70 points) in scoring for London with 30 goals and 68 points in as many games. He's a late-92 birthdate who made an immediate impact with his team and adjusted well to the North American game. Namestnikov led all Knights players with 30 markers this season and has high-end skills and nice wheels. He's very average-sized at 6-0 and about 170, so will have a lot of off-ice work to do in order to get his body ready for the pro hockey grind, but he's highly adept at handling the puck, setting up the play and thinks the game at an advanced level. He speaks perfect English, as he spent much of his youth in the U.S. and Canada while his dad, Evgeny, was playing in the NHL and AHL. His uncle, Slava Kozlov is a Stanley Cup champion and 800+ point scorer in the NHL, so Namestnikov's sterling blood lines will help. He's a typical skilled European player who is very good offensively, but is still a work in progress in terms of his defense, but there is some upside here for sure.”

Corey Pronman - "Vladislav Namestnikov came over from Russia this season and enjoyed a moderately successful debut in the OHL. He's an above-average skater, with a very notable first step that catches defenders off guard and his speed was able to make the opposition back up regularly. His puck skills are a definite above average tool in regards to his stick-handling ability and distribution skills and he is a threat when he has the puck. Namestnikov has at times fallen victim to overdeking when there is no man open, but that should not be mistaken for selfishness and he does hit his targets when they are there. Despite the 30 goals in the OHL, his shot does not look like it will grade as an above-average tool, but it is decent enough to work in the pros. Vladislav's physical game is fringe to below-average at the moment, but there's no major concerns here other than like most prospects his age in regards to hitting the gym. His defensive game is fine, and he can play the center position at the next level and he's shown he can think the game well enough in that aspect to be an effective penalty killer."

The Hockey Writers – “On the ice, the speedy Russian made a seamless transition to the North American game and it is reflected as he carries himself with loads of confidence.  Namestnikov is an elusive pivot who can create space with the combination of his quick feet and high hockey intelligence.  Namestnikov excels in the offensive zone as he puts on a clinic with his superb puckhandling and passing skills often creating a nightmare for his opposition.  Opposing defensemen must respect Namestnikov as he can dangle one-on-one or thread the needle to a teammate in the blink of an eye.  Scouts absolutely love the tool box of offensive skills that Namestnikov brings to the rink every night but the intangibles are what really separate the emerging Knight from other prospects. Namestnikov competes hard and has shown a drive to become a better all-around player as he works on developing to become a better defensive player.  As a smaller player, Namestnikov often plays with no fear as he drives to the net, thrives in tight areas of the rink and does not shy away from physical play.  The talented Namestnikov projects to be a playmaker but his goal totals (in the OHL and International play) have scouts thrilled about his sniping abilities as well.  Namestnikov finished second in team scoring with 68 points and led the Knights in goal scoring with 30 goals.” 

Alan Bass – “Compared to Ilya Kovalchuk, Namestnikov has a vast array of skills, including the usual ones for young Russian players: skating ability, speed, stickhandling, passing, and shooting. Something Namestnikov has that many Russian players lack is a great defensive game. Scouts have loved the fact that he is willing to go into the corner to fight for a puck, backcheck all the way down the ice, in addition to being aware in the defensive zone.  But Namestnikov is indeed still adjusting to the North American game. Although he claims that he understands the different style already, scouts still would like to see an improvement. In fact, the only two Russian draftees to make it full-time to the NHL in their draft year in the last few years are Alex Ovechkin and Burmistrov. Don’t expect Namestnikov to add his name to that list, but you can rest assured that he’ll be on an NHL roster in the next few years.” 

ESPN – “Strange as it may seem, Vladislav Namestnikov has a North American game trapped in a Russian body.  Standing at 6-feet and 170 pounds, the 17-year-old center has the speed, hands and scoring touch of his Russian compatriots. But what has scouts raving is Namestnikov's two-way game, one that closely resembles that of North American skaters. ‘Vladislav has all the skills and talent to be a great player,’ says E.J. McGuire, the NHL's [late] director of central scouting. ‘He has a high understanding of the game and an ability to make things happen. And he compensates for a lack of size with straight-ahead speed.’  Despite that lack of size, Namestnikov has begun to garner a reputation for doing dirty work on defense in addition to his solid offensive game. ‘He works hard at both ends,’ says Mark Hunter, general manager of the OHL's London Knights, who traded up to the 20th pick and drafted Namestnikov in the 2010 Canadian Hockey League import draft. ‘He has to get stronger, but we watched him in Belarus [at the IIHF World U18 Championships] and he was the hardest working player on the ice.’” – “What Namestnikov might lack in size, he compensates for in straight-ahead speed.  ‘Vlad plays a high-energy, two-way game,’ Central Scouting's Chris Edwards told ‘He's very aggressive on the forecheck and backcheck and has the ability to beat defenders outside and cut back to the net. He has an excellent wrist shot that he can release with accuracy on the rush.’  When Namestnikov turned 8, he returned to Russia to hone his skills, playing for his hometown hockey school in Voskresensk while also competing internationally for his country and in senior leagues against men at a young age.  ‘I played with men as a 16-year-old and got stronger, so when I got over here (North America), I knew what was going on,’ he said.” 



Mock Drafts:

Adam Kimelman, – 26 

Mike Morreale, – N/A 

Steven Hoffner, – 18 

Deven Persaud, – 26 – N/A 

Gary Joyce, ESPN – 24 

Mark Seidel, CBC – 25 

Hockey's Future - N/A

The Hockey News - N/A


Thoughts: Namestnikov has the feel of a player that is going to get picked much higher than initially anticipated.  His offensive game is something to behold, and scouts seem impressed by his willingness to battle in the dirty areas and play at both ends of the rink.  His size and strength are major concerns, but Namestnikov’s pure ability may be reason to overlook that.  If he can find a way to pack on some muscle, he could be one of the better players to come out of this draft.

The Rangers selected Michael Del Zotto from the OHL in 2008.  They frequently dip into the league for prospects.  New York took Russian forward Alexei Cherepanov in the first-round in 2007. 

With the Rangers looking to add dynamic talent, Namestnikov could be a sensible pick.  He’s not quite as small as Christian Thomas, Mats Zuccarello, and Ryan Bourque, but the team obviously hasn’t been afraid to add undersized players in recent years.


Season Review:

Breaking Down The Defense >

Breaking Down The Goalies >

Breaking Down The Offense >

Breaking Down The Prospects >

How Three Free Agent Signings In 2007 Have Shaped The Eastern Conference >

Spotlight On Glen Sather >

Spotlight On John Tortorella >

Rangers Land Tim Erixon: What Does It Mean?

Richards Rumors Swirl > 

More Erixon Trade Fallout >


Player Reviews:

Spotlight On Mats Zuccarello >

Spotlight On Brian Boyle >

Spotlight On Matt Gilroy >

Spotlight On Ruslan Fedotenko >

Spotlight On Brandon Prust >

Spotlight On Bryan McCabe >

Spotlight On Alex Frolov >

Spotlight On Michael Del Zotto >

Spotlight On Martin Biron >

Spotlight On Brandon Dubinsky >

Spotlight On Marc Staal >

Spotlight On Steve Eminger >

Spotlight On Henrik Lundqvist >

Spotlight On Wojtek Wolski >

Spotlight On Sean Avery >

Spotlight On Dan Girardi >

Spotlight On Erik Christensen >

Spotlight On Ryan McDonagh >

Spotlight On Vinny Prospal >

Spotlight On Derek Stepan >

Spotlight On Marian Gaborik >

Spotlight On Chris Drury >

Spotlight On Artem Anisimov >

Spotlight On Mike Sauer >


Draft Profiles:

Zack Phillips >

Sven Bartschi >

Mark Scheifele >

Mika Zibanejad > 

Mark McNeill >

Brandon Saad >

Joel Armia >

Nicklas Jensen >

Alexander Khokhlachev >

Tyler Biggs >

Matt Puempel >

Rickard Rakell >

Mario Lucia >

Tomas Jurco >

Dmitri Jaskin >

Phillip Danault >

Rocco Grimaldi >

Ty Rattie >

Daniel Catenacci >

Vladislav Namestnikov >



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New York Rangers VS Chicago Blackhawks
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

  1 2 3 OT F
Rangers 3 0 0 - 3
Blackhawks 1 1 0 - 2

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