Detroit Red Wings: Vladislav Namestnikov could be vital with his flexibility

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Red Wings adding Vladimir Namestnikov will be crucial for forward core flexibility.

As the Detroit Red Wings start to prepare for the 2020-21 season, they will start to try out different line combinations, and types of depth chart looks. Adding in forward Vladislav Namestnikov was a clutch move by General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman.

He may not be the most exciting name in terms of scoring; he is not about to go out and punch home 80 points with 30 goals, but what he does bring to the table is versatility and flexibility; at quite the bargain too!

Earlier this offseason, the Red Wings signed Namestnikov to a two-year, $4 million contract that pays him $2 million over each of the next two seasons. He is a twenty-eight year old forward who has played in seven total seasons in his career.

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While he has not eclipsed 50 total points any time in his career on a given season, he still brings a ton of value to the current Red Wings organization.

In 2019-20, Namestnikov had stints with three teams (Colorado, New York-R, and Ottawa) totaling 65 games played, where he logged 17 goals and 14 assists for 31 total points.

He averaged around 15 minutes of ice time on a nightly basis and spent most of his season playing for the Ottawa Senators.

This offseason, Yzerman called up Namestnikov and struck a deal with the forward, who is capable of playing all three positions up front.

Interestingly enough, Namestnikov came into the NHL with the Tampa Bay Lightning, a former first-round draft choice of Yzerman during his tenure with the Lightning. He ultimately felt that bringing Namestnikov back was a good fit for this organization.

That’s the thing; it’s a great fit for the Red Wings because Namestnikov can be one of those Plug’n’Play types of players. If all goes well, there is no reason Namestnikov would not be shifted around the line chart on a nightly basis.

There could be nights he finds himself up no the second line, but he could also very well find himself slotting down in the bottom-six group of forwards. No question about it, Namestnikov is going to be able to be shifted around, which is going to be crucial.

The Red Wings could do a couple of things that will allow Namestnikov to find ways to stay in the lineup. (A) Moving Bobby Ryan or any forwards via trade freeing up a spot for Namestnikov to play in the top-six in place of whoever is moved; (B) Bringin up prospects and letting them get their chances meaning Namestnikov has to shift from wing to center or center to wing to make room for the likes of players like Michael Rasmussen, Joe Veleno, etc.

He can center a line or play wing on another; moving him around is fine since he is a flexible forward the Red Wings can rely on. As mentioned above, he may not have a ton of scoring upside, but he finds his way onto the scoresheet, and his versatility brings him value.

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Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman made a very bright move (one of many) by signing Vladislav Namestnikov during this offseason leading into the 2020-21 season.