The Tampa Bay Lightning have sealed the deal with another of the team’s young players awaiting a new contract for the upcoming season, center Vladislav Namestnikov.
It may not seem like it, but Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman has been quite a busy man since the 2015-16 season came to an end. One of his first orders of business was to re-sign Lightning captain Steven Stamkos to an eight-year contract extension. Not long after that, Yzerman was able to seal the deal with Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman on a similar eight-year contract extension.
Since then, Steve Yzerman has been able to re-sign players like Alex Killorn and acquire a familiar friend by the name of Cory Conacher. Other than that, Yzerman has made a number of subtle moves that will help build the future of the Tampa Bay Lightning and help fortify their American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch.
Moments ago, Yzerman was able to secure another valuable piece to the Lightning’s main roster. According to ESPN’s Craig Custance, the Tampa Bay Lightning have come to terms with Lightning center Vladislav Namestnikov on a two-year contract extension worth around $1.9375 per year. This means the contract in whole is worth around $3.875 million.
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Vladislav Namestnikov was originally drafted in the First Round (27th Overall) by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Before making his way to the Lightning organization, Namestnikov would play one more season with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. In the 2012-13 season, Vladdy would make the jump to the Syracuse Crunch.
Namestnikov would make his NHL debut with the Tampa Bay Lightning on February 8, 2014 as the Bolts took on the Detroit Red Wings, a game in which the Lightning would win 4-2 heading into the Olympic Break. Namestnov would play a total of four games with the Lightning that season, but the majority of his time would be spent with the Syracuse Crunch.
The 2014-15 season was Vladdy’s first real season with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The now-23-year-old Russian center would play in a total of 43 games with the Lightning that season. In that amount of time, he would score nine goals and seven assists for a total of 16 points.
Last season was the true test of what the young Lightning forward could accomplish. He played in all but two games with the Lightning last season. In that amount of time, Vladdy would bring home 14 goals and 21 assists for a total of 35 points along with a plus-17 rating. These numbers are a career high for Vladislav Namestnikov. His success continued into the postseason where he would score one goal and two assists for a total of three points in 17 games.
Yzerman re-signing Vladislav Namestnikov is definitely a good decision for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Namestnikov’ speed and stick handling skills will definitely be of assistance to the Lightning as they attempt to make their way back to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third season in a row. The difference this time, the team will be looking to go all the way and hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup high above their heads.
There are still some pieces to the puzzle that need to be put into place before the bigger picture will come clear and the Lightning will be ready to take on the 2016-17 season. On the bright side, Namestnikov is one of those valuable pieces that need to be put into play and we’re definitely happy to have him with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the next two years.