Colorado Avalanche rental forward Vladislav Namestnikov performed well for parts of his 2020 NHL playoffs.
The Colorado Avalanche are likely to be deep into their draft strategies by this point in the offseason. I imagine they’re looking at some potential free agency signings, too.
That inglorious day when the Avalanche lost in overtime Game 7 to the Dallas Stars is three weeks past. However, we still have an examination to do for some of the players and their performances in the two rounds of the playoffs.
One such is Vladislav Namestnikov. GM Joe Sakic picked him up at the trade deadline. He sent over a fourth-round draft pick for the forward. In fact, Namestnikov falls into two categories because he’s also a pending unrestricted free agent.
Prior to these two rounds with the Avalanche, Namestnikov had played in 29 playoff games, all with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In those games, he had 1 goal and 3 assists. Therefore, I didn’t have very high hopes for him in the playoffs. Some players just disappear in big games, and I though he might be one such.
I can’t say he exactly proved me wrong. There definitely were stretches of time that he disappeared or was otherwise ineffectual. He started off slow against Arizona and then suffered an injury. He returned equally slow. His first three games against the Dallas Stars were nothing to write home about.
By that time, Avalanche players were starting to drop like flies, so there wasn’t a lot of meritocracy in who would suit up. However, Namestnikov’s ice time did suffer.
However, Game 4 against Dallas, his game improved considerably. He scored a goal in the August 30 game that was ultimately a loss. The goal put the Avalanche to within one of tying the game. However, it came with just four seconds left in the game, so there just wasn’t enough time.
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Namestnikov earned an assist in the all-important Game 6. Colorado was facing elimination. His assist came on Zadorov’s first-period goal, which tied the game after it looked like the Dallas Stars might be the stronger team in that all-important game. Namestnikov also saw his ice time jump in that game, a win for Colorado.
Game 7 is where Namestnikov really shined. This was obviously an elimination game for both teams.
Namestnikov scored the game-tying goal in the first period to give us all a little breathing room in this electric game. It was the kind of exciting hockey game you love unless it’s your team whose season is on the line! The goal scoring was back and forth, and the score was tied at 3 apiece in the third when Namestnikov struck again. He scored what we all hoped would be the game-winning goal in the third, but, alas, a Stars player tied it mere seconds later.
Sadly, that was the last goal the Colorado Avalanche scored this season. The same player who tied the game scored the game-winner in overtime. Namestnikov was on the ice for that goal. I don’t want to say he exactly blew his coverage, but he didn’t ace it either. In fact, the Stars player was about a foot away from him when he shot the game-winner, so maybe Namestnikov did blow his coverage.
Will that last Colorado Avalanche goal be the last for Namestnikov in burgundy and blue? I reckon so. Not because of that blown coverage, but because Namestnikov was only ever a rental. Sakic traded for him when the Avs were in the midst of their injury woes in the regular season, and he came in handy when the Avs again went through injury woes in the playoffs. The 27-year-old was never meant to be a long-term solution to a team who actually has no problems with depth.
Namestnikov had career playoffs since he ended up with 3 goals — 4 if you count the round robin — and an assist. Those statistics stood the team well.