This is the eleventh post in my three paragraph player reviews series. You can read what I’ve previously had to say about Eric Neilson (who was re-signed last week!!!!!), Cedric Paquette, and Mike Angelidis by visiting those links, as I won’t be doing any of these “reviews” for them.
Previous players reviewed in this series:
If there was one player on Syracuse’s roster this past season that could make a fairly seamless transition to the NHL right this moment, it would be Vladislav Namestnikov. Despite being out for more than a month with a broken hand suffered at the end of November, his development occurred in leaps and bounds. His speed, tenacity and dedication impressed Crunch fans all season. He was definitely one of the bright spots.
Namestnikov finished the season third on the team in scoring with 48 points (19-29). He was an irreplaceable part of Syracuse’s top line, something that became painfully clear during the Crunch’s two-win December. With Namestnikov out and forwards JT Brown and Nikita Kucherov recalled to Tampa Bay, the Crunch struggled mightily to win games. When Namestnikov returned, the ship righted a bit, although there just wasn’t enough firepower on the rest of the roster to save Syracuse’s post-season hopes.
Namestnikov was voted in at number 10 in Raw Charge’s Top 25 Under 25 list. His 7 power play goals were the most on the Crunch’s roster (Jonathan Marchessault had 8, but 7 of those were with the Springfield Falcons). In addition to his scoring talent, Namestnikov was also named an alternate captain for the 2013-2014 Crunch season, and served in that capacity when either forward Brett Connolly or defenseman JP Cote was recalled.
If he didn’t have it already, Namestnikov absolutely secured a place in the hearts of Crunch fans when he was suckerpunched by a Toronto Marlies player during the second period on April 12th. He suffered a cut that took 9 stitches to close as a result, but yet returned to the ice for the third period. He then played a full game the next day despite his badly-bruised face. Namestnikov deserves to make the Lightning roster next year.