Colorado Avalanche: Finding Room for Vladislav Kamenev Post-Signing

The Colorado Avalanche continued to tidy up their roster as they signed forward Vladislav Kamenev to a one-year contract.

The Colorado Avalanche have signed another of their restricted free agents. Forward Vladislav Kamenev will be with the organization for one more season. His contract is worth $750,000.

Kamenev was coming off his entry-level contract, which he signed with the Nashville Predators in 2015. The first year was an entry-level slide, but he went on to complete most of the next year in the AHL and that last two between the Avalanche and Predators’ organizations.

Colorado acquired Kamenev as part of the Matt Duchene trade.

Vladislav has been very unlucky when it comes to injuries. In his first game with the Avs, he took a hard hit from Brooks Orpik:

Unfortunately, though it was a legal check, the hit broke Kamenev’s wrist badly enough he required surgery. His season was over. Kamenev came back and actually played 23 games with the Colorado Avalanche before suffering a dislocated shoulder. He was out the rest of the season again.

In that time, Kamenev did record his first-ever NHL goal:

Props to the kid — his first NHL goal was a shorty.

So, Kamenev sat out the better part of two seasons, most of the time he’d had to prove to the Avalanche he had a place in the organization. Colorado has since signed him for another year. That make it pretty clear that they want to see if Kamenev can fit within the organization.

Can Kamenev fit? Well, he’s still young, 23 in a couple weeks. (Fun fact — we share a birthday. Different year, though.) He’s got good size, especially for a forward at 6-foot-2, 194 pounds. He cannot absorb hits that well, though, despite that frame.

Kamenev is a good skater, employing that predatory lope so common among Russians. He hasn’t put up tremendous offensive numbers in the AHL. However, he sees time on the penalty kill, so obviously he’s got some defensive acumen as well.

Looking closer at some of his stats, Kamenev won half of his faceoffs last season. His takeaway to giveaway ratio wasn’t great — 2:5, which isn’t so bad either. His CorsiFor was 43.5%, and his Relative Corsi -6.1. However, Vladislav played on the fourth line, recording around 9 minutes of ice time on average.

So, we have Vladislav Kamenev back. What are we going to do with him? In my opinion, he may need to return to the Colorado Eagles for conditioning. Granted, he’s played almost 150 AHL games already, but he’s also missed the better part of two years’ worth of competitive hockey.

Can he eventually make his way back to the fourth line? Might he have a spot on the third line if it’s implemented as a checking line? Anything can happen come training camp, but the Colorado Avalanche’s forward depth looks pretty stocked after GM Joe Sakic’s low-key acquisitions this summer.

Side note: Nazem Kadri did claim Kamenev’s #91 for next season. That claiming doesn’t necessarily herald anything dire for the young prospect — Kadri is a veteran, and they have dibs on numbers. Kamenev wore #50 at times with the Preds and #9 or 16 with Russia.