The Tampa Bay Lightning have nabbed London Knights forward Vladimir Namestnikov with the 27th overall selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Namestnikov combines his shifty, fleet footed skating ability with a set of soft hands and a plethora of tricks to dip from, making him one of the draft’s most dynamic talents. A playmaker at heart, Namestnikov loves to dish the puck to an open teammate but will not hesitate to put the puck on net, as his 30 goals in 68 games with the London Knights will attest to.
While cutting through the middle has typically been something a young Russian prospect has been known to shy away from, Namestnikov shows no fear in invading any part of the ice despite weighing just 165-pounds.
While he has been outmuscled at times with his frame, Namestnikov doesn’t shy away from trying to retrieve the puck right back, just one of the areas in his defensive game that are already adequate.
Namestnikov also possesses the lineage to make an impact at the NHL level. His father, Evgeny, played for the Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators and New York Islanders, while his uncle Slava Kozlov had an impressive career with the Detroit Red Wings and Atlanta Thrashers.