Red Wings: Namestnikov will be sought after at the trade deadline

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After last year’s average performance, Vladislav Namestnikov has been excellent for the Detroit Red Wings this season. In the Russian forward, Steve Yzerman and the Wings have a player that will be extremely desirable at the trade deadline.

A versatile forward

Namestnikov is a man of many talents. From the bottom-six to the top-six (and even occasionally on the top unit), Vladdy has been effective for Detroit this year. He can play anywhere with effectiveness, providing competent defense, solid offensive drive and a sneaky-good finish. Of late, he’s even been extremely effective on the penalty kill, even notching a short handed goal against the Buffalo Sabres.

For teams looking to add a bit more for a playoff run, Namestnikov is almost perfect. His $2 million contract is small enough for almost any contending team to add on (especially if Detroit retains some salary), and considering his play this season, it’s at a great value. He’s been in the league for a bit, with experience from a contender (Tampa Bay) and a rebuilder (Detroit). He an slot in at essentially any spot in the lineup. Teams around the league will almost certainly make a few offers by the trade deadline.

Do they even want to trade him?

Even with a recent decline, the Red Wings are having a pretty solid season, all things considered. They have two of the best rookies in the entire league, their team captain is having a heck of a bounce-back year and their rookie goaltender has been fantastic in the crease. The depth scoring hasn’t really provided much – but Namestnikov has been the notable exception. The forward has 11 goals and nine assists in 40 games, only behind the top line and Moritz Seider in points. And as it stands, he’s not even considered depth. Namestnikov has made multiple appearances on the top line, alongside Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond.

Do the Red Wings even want to trade such a valuable player?

Well, the rebuild isn’t over, and despite some optimism in the early part of the season, a playoff berth looks unlikely. But at some point, you have to keep your good players in a rebuild, and Vladdy has been quite good this season. Also, from a fan’s perspective, it’s hard to toss away a player that has so much love for the city of Detroit and the team. Namestnikov might just be too valuable this season.

On the other hand, Yzerman has been known to work a bit of magic at the trade deadline. If a team offers a hefty price or a kings ransom for Vladdy (similar to the Anthony Mantha trade), the organization probably would (and should) pull the trigger on a trade.

For now, fans should just enjoy the season that Namestnikov is having in Detroit – teams will come calling on March 21.

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