By Eldon MacDonald
35. Vladislav Namestnikov - “Joe Ferrari” - C/RW - Russia
Vitals: Size - 6’0”, 166 lb.; Shoots left; Born: 22-Nov-92 - Voskresensk, RUS
Team: London, OHL
2010-11Stats: 68-30-38-68-49-(+12) + OHL playoffs 6-1-4-5-6-(-1)
13 - NHL Central Scouting's Final Rankings (11th North American skater)
17 - The Scouting Report's Top 100 Skaters
19 - Future Considerations Final Rankings
23 - McKeen's June Top 30
23 - Cory Pronman's Top 100
23 - Craig Button's Top 30 of 8-Jun-11
26 - hfboards Readers’ Poll
29 - Kirk Luedeke's Top 50
31 - Bob MacKenzie's June Poll of Scouts
32 - Christopher Ralph's Top 210
35 - E-Mac's 2011 NHL Entry Draft Top 120
36 - The Hockey News per TSN
37 - ISS per TSN
27 - Tampa Bay Lightning
Vladislav comes from a hockey family. His dad, Evgeny, played parts of six seasons in the NHL so Vladislav spent part of his childhood in North America which accounts for his flawless English. His uncle, Vyacheslav (Slava) Kozlov, was on two Stanley Cup winning squads with Detroit and played this past year in the KHL where he was part of the Gagarin Cup (the Russian version of the Stanley Cup) winning squad, Salavat Yulaev Ufa. His mother, while not a hockey player, is Slava Kozlov’s sister.
Prior to coming to North America this year, Vladislav made the Team Russia U17 squad in 2008-09, amassing ten points in only five games at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and then followed that up by making the U18 squad in 2009-10 and getting seven points in seven games at the U18’s. So this year he came to the London Knights to blossom under the tutelage of the Hunter brothers (Mark and Dale).
So how did Vladislav do this year??? Good, he had a solid regular season and playoffs, scoring a point per game in each. He did not appear to have much trouble adjusting to life on this side of the pond as his combination of good English and Northern American playing style helped him to integrate quickly. He certainly has the skills of a European - the skating (first and top gears and agility), the hands, the scoring ability combined with an innate hockey sense (could it be the bloodlines kicking in???) and vision. However, his North American type skills are not too shabby either - fore checking, back checking, penalty killing, work ethic etc. The only real area holding Vladislav back is his strength - he gets bowled over too easily and doesn’t win all the battles he should. As Central Scouting's Chris Edwards told NHL.com
"Vlad plays a high-energy, two-way game. 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."
So where does one of the better skaters in the draft go on June 24-25th??? As you can see from the above, there is a wide discrepancy between the highs and lows - 13 to 35. Those that see him developing into a dynamic offensive center obviously have him at the higher end of the spectrum. However, in the games I have seen him, he didn’t stand out enough for me to rate him in round one - good player although a bit inconsistent -yes; standout - not so much.