The NHL Deadline on Monday is promptly approaching, and Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings front office has been…quiet. Such activity is most likely not going to continue, though. Detroit is expected to make a move or multiple moves, whether large or small, soon. One of the names that has been tossed around for a little over a month now is forward Vladislav Namestnikov.
Namestnikov has played some minutes on just about every line 1-4 for the Red Wings this season, currently playing on the top unit with Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond in the squad’s most recent matchup. Vladdy has 13G and 12A for 25 points in 59 games played over the course of his age 29 season.
I’m going to examine the kind of factors that Stevie is considering when it comes to the fate of Vlad Namestnikov, and ultimately try to answer the question: Will he continue to don the Winged Wheel after 3:00 pm on the 21st, or will he be on a flight to another city?
Vladdy is a solid depth forward, and could be a nice addition to a playoff contender. Obviously 25 points in 59 games played isn’t going to create the best market, but it should incite some interest from GM’s across the league should he be available (which, with the rumors we’ve heard, it seems like most everybody is). He also has playoff experience as a former member of the Lightning.
Namestnikov is on the final year of a 2yr/$2 million AAV contract, meaning he could be a cheap depth-scoring rental option. I think Steve wouldn’t have an issue getting a lower-level prospect with some upside and/or a 4th or 5th round pick for him. These assets that the Red Wings would receive back would essentially be “house money” with the team out of playoff contention and Namestnikov’s deal being up at the end of this season.
Additionally, Vladdy being traded opens up a spot on the first line left wing. Although it would create a bit of a skill and scoring imbalance from the Red Wings’ first group to the rest of them, I would love to see a Vrana-Larkin-Raymond pairing — even if it’s just for one game.
The first con is obvious — Vladdy is a fan favorite, and he loves being in Detroit. He was growing up while the “Russian Five” were playing together for the Wings, helping to propel the franchise to great success in a time in which talented Russian players were just beginning to step through the collapsing Iron Curtain and defect to the NHL. The tug on the crest of his jersey almost every time he scores a goal is a great example of the pride he has to be a Detroit Red Wing.
Vladdy has not scored in a while, but his absence could certainly cause a slight dip in scoring. Depending on the return, Namestnikov’s trading could lower the talent level and depth of this year’s team as they go down the stretch. The return could also be underwhelming enough that the trade would be a wash (although with Steve Yzerman as your GM, that’s unlikely).
Will Vlad Be Traded?
With Stevie at the helm, your guess is as good as mine. If I had to wager one, though, I would say no. It seems like some larger trade targets (ex: Tyler Bertuzzi) have become more inquired about in the last couple days, and we all know Yzerman likes making a splash. I think we are more likely to see some larger moves from the Red Wings in the coming days. However, I will say that I would not be surprised by a Namestnikov trade. Other than Larkin, Raymond, Seider, Vrana, and Nedeljkovic, I wouldn’t be surprised to see just about any name moved out of Detroit before Monday. Hold on to your behinds, Wings fans, it’s going to be an interesting few days.