2019 Rangers Player Report Card: Vlad Namestnikov

As we continue with our player report cards, we move on to players that are significantly harder to grade. Sure, the KZB line all got A’s, but that was expected. Vlad Namestnikov, on the other hand, is a bit of a mixed bag. Namestnikov’s line wasn’t sexy, putting up 11-20-31 in 78 games in his first full year as a Ranger while bouncing around the lineup, but mostly in a middle-six role.

Namestnikov’s production will be closely tied to his $4 million salary, and 31 points for $4 million isn’t exactly what you want to see. Comparatively, though, JT Miller, the guy whom the Rangers – more or less – traded for Namestnikov, put up 13-34-47 on a loaded Lightning team while making $5.25 million. So this is pretty much a wash, but Namestnikov only has one year left while Miller has another four years left. Both are the same age.

As with everyone else, there is a need to look deeper into Namestnikov’s production than just points. In terms of xGF%, Namestnikov was actually 6th on the club at 47.88, and is 4th when you remove Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello from the equation. Going a level deeper, Namestnikov’s xGA/60, which measures defensive play, is again 6th on the team (4th when removing Hayes/Zuccarello) at 2.53. Meanwhile his xGF/60 is down the list at 8th at 2.33 (again move him up 2 spots if you are removing Hayes/Zuccarello). This can be used to show us that we have a guy who is relatively under appreciated on the defensive aspect of the game while still chipping in offensively at a respectable clip.

Here we see that defensive impact, with Namestnikov on the ice (blue is good):

And without Namestnikov:

As with the KZB evaluation, the red areas are locations where the opposition takes more shots than league average, and blue is less than league average. The front of the net is a concern across the board for the Rangers, but Namestnikov’s presence has led to fewer shots from the high slot area. He also shuts down shots from the point areas, which is an expected result.

All in all, Namestnikov’s offensive performance was a bit underwhelming, considering he just came off a 20-goal, 45-point season last year. The dip to 31 points can be attributed to the lack of depth skill in the Rangers lineup. It looks like Namestnikov plays up to his teammates offensively, while still being respectable without the puck. He’s a solid depth player, if a bit overpaid.

Grade: B.

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  • Namestnikov has great numbers for a 4th line forward. On a first line, he surely would have eclipsed 40 points. Our problem is that we are not deep enough to play him on a regular 4th line. I would love to see him, Vesey and Fast as the 4th line, mainly because the top 3 lines would be stacked with studs.

    He is a one year, $4M player who can play some defense. Useful bottom 6 guy who no one will ever trade for again.

  • I think that B is well deserved. He was better from the mid-point going forward, and especially after the deadline. I think his role became more defined (in his mind) and he improved some. But he’s probably still a little overpaid, maybe.

    Quinn all but said Chytil probably wouldn’t get consistent minutes at Center next season. I would love and I mean LOVE to see Names centering Kakko and Panarin on the second line line next season, should we acquire him. Strome, IMO, doesn’t make the players around him that much better. And Lias and Howden wouldn’t move the needle with those two wingers, not yet anyway.

    Names is a smart, talented, two-way player that was drafted as a center and I think his talent explodes with skaters like Kakko and Panarin.

  • Names is a nice player than can play all 3 phases of the game, but he’s a 30 pt player, and always has been except for the year he played with TB’s top line.

    The contracts to Spooner and Names were misguided, fortunately Gorton was able to correct the first mistake and now must correct the 2nd one, by trading names and getting his cap space off the books.

    • We just have him for 1 more year, his cap hit is inconsequential for next year … after that though, ….

      • Not inconsequential for this year if the Rangers want to make moves. They could clear $15-$20M MORE in cap space between Vesey, Names, Strome, Staal, and Smith.

        • Who will be left to play and what do you want to do with that money, sign Skinner, Panarin and Karlsson? lol That money you’re talking about will be off the books along with $6.5m+ for Shattenkirk and $8.5m for hank, so no worries … we will be in cap heaven in 2 years.

          • we can make the playoffs next year, if the right moves are made, and still have the team dominated by young players.

          • I’m less interested in making the playoffs and more interested in not tying up exorbitant amounts of money on old free agents … the only possible exception is Panarin, second is Skinner … but not both. You’re just asking for trouble down the line and you know they’ll probably want full NMCs for 7 years.

          • To put you mind at ease, Panarin and Bob are probably headed to FL, the CBJs will throw a boat load of mioney at Duchene, making him too expensive for the Rangers. Skinner’s concussion history makes throwing a big contract at him very risky.

            Whch is why I say, a guy like Dzingel, who would come more cheaply and fill the 2C position nicely until Chytil is ready, would be a nice affordable option.

            But if the Rangers do land a Panarin or Duchene, then they make the playoffs next year, IMO.

          • Well if you’re looking at someone like Dzingel why not just look at a commodity we all know for the 2nd line, Kevin Hayes … hell, if you add Zucc to the equation you get two Top 6 guys for the price of one Panarin — and they probably will both take less than the full term and I doubt either would command a full NMC for the length of the term — of course if Zucc signs in Dallas and it looks like they’re very interested (search Mats Zuccarello Is Exceeding Expectations), we get a #1 for 2020 and that is a real good draft. That would certainly make our forward group DEEP now with the additions of Kravs and Kakko/Hughes. It might take a year but with a tweak or two to the defense that’s a team that could compete.

          • Why not Kevin Hayes? because you just said that you do not want to overpay for players, and that list should include former Rangers.

            You want to pay Hayes 7×7, or even 6×6? I don’t. He’s played like 8-10 minutes per game lately. No thanks.

            Dzingel gives roughly the same point production and would probably cost a lot less. That’s why I would consider him.

  • He was terribly unproductive after the trade deadline last year and at the beginning of this season. Otherwise he was scoring at a much better pace. His effort after the first 20-25 games was excellent and yes, defensively he’s sound. He’s a very good 3rd line player and that almost makes his $4m salary justifiable — I think the days of retaining high quality veteran 3rd liners for under $3m is long gone. That said he’s probably going to be expendable along with Vesey (unless he finds another gear in the next couple of years) at some point and I’m not even sure if it pays to resign him for more than another 2 years at about the same salary. If he’s looking for more in either respect he should be moved, even during the summer if the return is good … otherwise he should be able to fetch a 2nd or 3rd rounder at the trade deadline depending on the market.

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