What Vladislav Namestnikov Means To The Rangers

USA Today

After having some time to digest after a crazy trade deadline for the Blueshirts, Vladislav Namestnikov has stepped in and shown his worth to the team.After being the only NHL-ready player acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the massive deadline deal, Namestnikov seems to fit in quite nicely.

Through three games with the Blueshirts, Namestnikov has tallied two points, with both of those coming in his first game as a Blueshirt in Vancouver. Aside from putting points on the score sheet, Namestnikov brings a different look to the Rangers. The center has brought speed and skill up the middle to a team that desperately needed it. Through his first few games, he has found himself centering Mats Zuccarello and Jimmy Vesey. Whether that combination will stick together or not, the immediate impact he brings to this team is certainly noticeable as he has helped jolt the team to three consecutive victories.

The 25-year-old Russian has blown past his career highs in goals and assists this season, although playing on the same line as Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov certainly helps. He currently has 21 goals and 25 assists between the two squads.

Namestnikov is on the last year of his contract, however, and there is some talk on what the Rangers should do with him. The price tag shouldn’t be too inflated on the Russian, as his last contract saw him earning a shade under $2 million. Of course, a raise seems to be in order, but the center/wing brings too much to this Rangers team for them to let him walk; especially after being one of the few NHL-ready players they have acquired since this rebuild started to take place. A major part of whether or not Jeff Gorton and the rest of the organization decides to re-sign Namestnikov is based on the current crop of prospects coming up for the Rangers. Lias Andersson, Filip Chytil, Boo Nieves, and Brett Howden are all centermen who are on the rise to the NHL. Many expect Andersson and Chytil to be up in the big leagues next year, which makes the decision more difficult with Namestnikov.

The Rangers have a strong prospect pool and a surplus of draft picks in the upcoming draft, and the rebuild that is in session has been extremely promising thus far. It also helps to see guys like Namestnikov, and/or Spooner, producing so quickly for this Rangers team. Where the organization decides to go with Namestnikov is up in the air, but in my opinion, what he brings to the ice every single night is too valuable.