Detroit Red Wings: Vladislav Namestnikov will be top-six worthy in ’21-22

(Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)
(Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Red Wings signed Vladislav Namestnikov to a two-year deal last offseason. The veteran forward was not some offensive god, but he played his role well. With the way he played in 2020-21, there is reason to believe he can elevate himself into a top-six role in ’21-22.

He’s more of a third-line guy no matter where he plays, not just with the Detroit Red Wings. But there is still a chance that he emerges as a fringe top-six player. Elevating himself from the bottom-six grouping of this Red Wings team.

One of the things that helps Namestnikov’s case for this is his ability to be versatile. He can be a winger or also take draws as a centerman. He is able to play all of the forward positions, which makes him one of those Plug’n’Play guys.

Namestnikov may not be a huge addition to the Red Wings, but in his second year, he is going to prove that he was worth the minimal $2 million cap hit spent on him. Being that fringe top-six forward is the perfect role for him and the role the team benefits from.

Detroit Red Wings forward Vladislav Namestnikov is going to break into the top-six in 2021-22.

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In his first season with the Red Wings, Namestnikov moved all over the line chart, he was moved around plenty, and this year he will likely be a staple on the second line.

With Fabbri coming back healthy, as things stand now, he will be on a second line with Namestnikov and possibly Zadina.

In 2020-21, Namestnikov logged 53 games for the Red Wings, where he logged eight goals and nine assists for 17 total points.

His performance on the faceoff dot was lackluster and is something he should be aiming to work on ahead of this upcoming season.

Namestnikov can fill a role on the second line and be a better version of what Valtteri Filppula has been in his return to Hockeytown.

The $2 million price tag for Namestnikov should be considered a steal, even if Namestnikov struggles to find 30 points in the upcoming season.  He is going to fill a role for the Red Wings and be a player who is capable of adding offense while playing well enough to aid the defense in some form.

This past season he was used as more of a defensive asset, and if he can help the second line be more sound in the defensive zone, it may be a plus for the organization. To be clear, when I say Namestnikov is going to emerge as a top-six forward, I mean he will be appearing on the second line more than this year.

He is not going to pop off for 25 goals and 30 assists and be one of the team’s best, but he is going to find his way on the scoresheet and make $2 million continue to be a great signing.

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The Red Wings have been trudging through the rebuild, and small signings like that are what helps this team create some offense in an otherwise dead environment.