Colorado Avalanche: Getting to Know Vladislav Kamenev

SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 6: Vladislav Kamenev
SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 6: Vladislav Kamenev /

The Colorado Avalanche got a great haul for Matt Duchene, including Vladislav Kamenev. So who is he?

On Nov. 5, the Matt Duchene saga with the Colorado Avalanche finally ended. For Avalanche fans, and I think for hockey fans in general, this was an exhausting ordeal. I can only imagine what it was like for Joe Sakic trying to figure out who was willing to trade for Matt Duchene and what those teams were willing to give up.

In the end, in my opinion Sakic did an absolutely stellar job in trading a player who was on borrowed time. He was never going to get 4 players and 3 draft picks from one team, so making this a three-team trade was a genius plan. While most prospects and picks are essentially magic beans, they can be valuable assets given the right scouting and development.

I’m sure by now Avalanche fans are already well aware of the players received in exchange for Duchene, but I’ll list what Colorado received anyway;

From Ottawa’s System:

Shane Bowers, Andrew Hammond, 2018 OTT 1st Round Pick, 2019 OTT 3rd Round Pick

From Nashville’s System: 

Samuel Girard, Vladislav Kamenev, 2018 NSH 2nd Round Pick

That is a large amount of magic beans. So let’s get to know one of those beans, Vladislav Kamenev.

The Player:

Vladislav Kamenev was a 2nd round pick (42nd overall) by the Nashville Predators in 2014. Essentially all the scouting reports before the 2014 said the same thing with different words; Kamenev is an above-average sized center with a very slick set of hands and a pass-first mentality. Here are a few examples from Hockey’s Future and Future Considerations, respectively;

"Kamenev is a fluid skating center with an excellent set of hands. He is an interesting prospect with size, the ability to use his body to advantage, and significant puck skills. The native of Orsk, Russia is effective along the boards and in front of the crease. He has a good shot, but is not a goal-scorer, playing more of a pass-first type of game. Kamenev has a determined work ethic and is disciplined in terms of avoiding unnecessary penalties."

"Kamenev is one skilled Russian prospect. His biggest strengths appear to be his vision and passing ability, but you can’t discount his impressive size. A really creative passer with great accuracy and timing, Kamenev also shows strong balance and acceleration in his skating. Kamenev is a strong, two-way player as well, and is really good in the faceoff circle. He has a lot of North American habits to his game, as a big center who helps defensively and plays with physicality along the boards. He is a frustratingly pass-first player who you would really like to see shoot it more when he gets the opportunity. His shot is both accurate and quick off his stick, a real weapon if he were only willing to use it more. Very good hockey sense and awareness in both zones. Has impressive hands and ability to control the puck while entering the zone and as he surveys his passing options. Protects it with his long reach, strength and solid balance on his feet."

That last one is a lot to read I know, but I feel it very much encapsulates the player he is. So, for your enjoyment, here’s a video!

Try to ignore he did this against our AHL affiliate….

I like this video for a couple reasons. Of course the hands in tight and quick shot upstairs are always nice to see. This seems to be his M.O., slick hands in tight spaces. This also translates into great board play with and without the puck, as mentioned in his 2nd scouting report provided.

The other part of this I like is before he gets the puck. So much of a players success in the NHL is knowing how to play without the puck. In the first couple seconds of the video, as the puck is on it’s way back, Kamenev goes to the open space. He shows good vision here and anticipates where the puck is going.

Here’s another video of his shot, again in a tight space, that he apparently doesn’t use enough of.

By the way, he was playing on a pretty good KHL team at the age of 17. Not bad, eh? Here’s another good display of his shot in tight. He doesn’t seem like a true sniper though, so I’d rather he play the style of game he’s comfortable with. If it’s a pass-first style, so be it.

The Future:

Honestly, his game reminds me of Anze Kopitar. Now hear me out, I’m not saying he’s going to turn into Kopitar. His game is very similar though; a centerman with great hands in tight spaces, not overly fast but uses his size to protect and control the puck, great playmaking ability, not a sniper but could stand to shoot more. What, you’re telling me that doesn’t sound like Kopitar?

Here’s an update after the trade from;

"November 2017 – Kamenev has been traded to the Avalanche as part of the blockbuster Duchene-Turris three-way deal. He had racked up three goals and five assists in nine AHL games with the Admirals – his best pace yet after two AHL campaigns. He was in Milwaukee on loan from Nashville, and was technically recalled before the trade, so it’s possible that he gets a look in Colorado with Jost and Compher still out with injuries."

More from Mile High Sticking

This seems about right to me. Kamenev at this point is a top AHL centerman and a serviceable NHL call-up. J.T. Compher and Tyson Jost are probably more NHL-ready. But since both are injured, and Matt Duchene isn’t here anymore, the Avs are thin at center. therefore, Kamenev may get a look sooner rather than later.

Of course I want whatever is best for his development. What will determine if the Avalanche did well in this trade is the development of the young prospects. If he’s better suited spending the majority of this year in San Antonio, that’s fine by me. The Avalanche are most likely not going to make the playoffs this season, so youth development is key.

If all goes well with his development, he should become a middle six center for this team. Center depth is a key for any successful team in this league. Want proof? Look no further than the other two teams involved in this trade. Nashville and Ottawa are looking to make deep Cup runs again this season, which is why they acquired Kyle Turris and Matt Duchene respectively.

Next: Getting to Know Samuel Girard

Lastly regarding Kamenev, he’s got some fire and passion in his game. Hopefully he channels it towards something a little more productive than this…..

Ah, let’s put a pin in that for now. Instead, let’s celebrate that Kamenev is already playmaking for the Colorado Avalanche — well, their AHL-affiliate, anyway:

That’s his first professional point for the Colorado organization. Hopefully, we’ll get to see a little of that this season with the NHL team.