Following the draft process, every player gets his first experience of the National Hockey League through training camp.
It’s a first chance to learn how be a pro.
Vladislav Namestnikov got his first opportunity to see what the professional life is like after being selected in the first round, 27th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“It was pretty tough,” Namestnikov explained. “It’s a lot different. Everyone is faster and a lot bigger, so it’s an adjustment to make the next level.”
The experience, though, left enough of a lasting impression to help the young Russian from the London Knights grow.
“I learned everything is much faster, you have to think faster or you’ll get hit,” he said. “The game is just different.”
An offensive-minded centre, Namestnikov has also been complimented for a two-way game. Under the tutelage of a Hall of Fame general manager Steve Yzerman, the six-foot, 170-pound forward will look to take the next step forward to break into the NHL.
“We talked twice while I was there,” Namestnikov admitted. “He told me to keep working, and to keep doing all the little things. [He said] to get stronger and get ready for the next level.”
Having posted 68 points in as many games last year, the Voskresensk native is once again on pace for a point-per-game season with six goals and 10 points in 10 games. Namestnikov has set his sights on something bigger, though.
“To get first place with the team, and that’s all that matters right now.”