ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling players who completed their rookie seasons with the organization in 2018-19. This installment takes a look at forward Vladislav Kamenev.
After getting a taste of the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche in the 2017-18 season, Vladislav Kamenev was excited and ready to cement his place on the roster at last September's training camp.
Kamenev made his initial debut for the Avalanche on Nov. 16, 2017, but what looked like a harmless collision with Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik in the first period resulted in a broken arm and a long road to recovery. He was able to return to the Avalanche lineup in March 2018, playing a few games and gaining valuable practice time during the club's late-season push and run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs
"It's been a long time since we finished the hockey season so now that hockey is back, I'm excited for the season," Kamenev said after a rookie tournament game against the San Jose Sharks on Sept. 11. "I feel more comfortable because I know the guys, the guys know me, so I feel more comfortable with it all."
The 6-foot-2, 194-pound forward started the 2018-19 season on the Avalanche's injured-reserve list after an injury in the preseason and began the new campaign with the American Hockey League's Colorado Eagles, skating in two games with the squad and registering an assist.
While he has dealt with his fair share of adversity in the NHL, namely freak accidents, he started to find his groove early in the 2018-19 season. Kamenev was recalled by the Avalanche on Oct. 8 and made his season debut on Oct. 11 at the Buffalo Sabres.
"I want him to keep building on what we saw during exhibition," Bednar said of the young wing before the game on Oct. 11. "He's a big, strong guy. I think he can skate well. He has good hands. He is smart defensively. I think he can contribute offensively. We're not going to see his best game right out of the gate, but I want him to start building and heading in the right direction for us."
The Orsk, Russia, native recorded his first NHL point with an assist on Oct. 27 at the Minnesota Wild. Just one game later on Nov. 1 at the Calgary Flames, he notched his first goal--a short-handed strike. He was the first Avalanche player to score his first career tally on a short-handed shot since Greg Mauldin on Nov. 12, 2010 at the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Video: COL@CGY: Kamenev pots first goal while shorthanded
"It was really important for me to get that feeling when you score a goal, now I can focus on playing better," he said of the milestone. "It was on the PK, at the end of my shift. I just tried to shoot on the net, and I got lucky."
Later that month, Kamenev recorded his first career multi-point game with a goal and an assist on Nov. 21 at the Los Angeles Kings.
The 22-year-old had his longest stint at the NHL-level last year, playing in 23 games for the Avs before suffering a shoulder injury on Dec. 8 at the Tampa Bay Lightning that required season-ending surgery. He finished the campaign with five points (two goals, three assists) while averaging 9:03 of ice time.
Kamenev's ice time increased as he played more games, which also improved his comfort level on the ice.
"I can carry more pucks. Game by game, I feel more comfortable carrying the puck," Kamenev said of seeing more playing time. "I don't just like to throw it away from me [and to my teammates] like I did maybe the first couple games. Now I feel more comfortable with it."
With a slew of bad luck limiting NHL opportunities over his initial two seasons with the Avalanche, Kamenev will be a player looking to make a big impact in the upcoming 2019-20 campaign.