The New York Rangers are no doubt going to lose part of their bottom six in the expansion draft. Current models via CapFriendly predict that the Rangers will leave Michael Grabner, Jesper Fast, and Oscar Lindberg unprotected. Losing any would be a tough pill to swallow.
Enter Vladislav Namestnikov. The 24-year-old centerman has been playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning since 2013, posting 33 goals and 46 assists over that time. Namestnikov is a two-way center who plays a complete game.
Namestnikov is going to be left unprotected by the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are protecting seven other high-class forwards including Steven Stamkos and former Ranger Ryan Callahan. This makes him a perfect target for a trade.
Namestnikov is a full upgrade on Lindberg for the fourth line center role. Lindberg is better on faceoffs, but Namestnikov is a year younger with more production.
Namestnikov’s contract isn’t too difficult to swallow, either. He clocks in just under $2 million per year, which is double what Lindberg was making on an entry level contract. He is a top of the line bottom six forward, and the Rangers should be jumping at the chance to trade for him.