Vladislav Kamenev has faced his fair share of adversity during his short tenure with the Colorado Avalanche organization, but he is finding his rhythm and carving a place for himself in the team's lineup.
He was acquired from the Nashville Predators in a three-team deal on Nov. 5, 2017 but suffered a broken arm in his first game with Colorado on Nov. 16. He ended up missing 50 games with the ailment.
The Orsk, Russia, native worked hard over the summer to come back in the best shape possible, but he started the 2018-19 campaign with the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League to help him get back up to speed after suffering an injury late in the preseason.
He was with the Eagles for just two games before he was recalled back to the Avalanche.
He has skated in four of the Avs' seven games this season, and with each new contest he is being given more and more responsibility to show what kind of player he is.
"I have liked the way he is practicing. We watch that closely, especially when you have decisions to make with your lineup," Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said of Kamenev. "We like his ability. His size and he can play center and wing, and he has been doing a nice job on the draws.
"You watch him in practice, and he has been penalty killing real well. He is asking the right questions. He is an intelligent player, and we feel like watching him in practice in that area that we can give him those minutes and we trust him in those minutes."
In his first outing of the campaign, the Avs' 6-1 win at the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 11, he was on the ice for 7:02. His second contest saw him play almost eight minutes, including time on the power play.
Kamenev's ice time continued to increase in his third and fourth contests and has featured him playing in both special-teams' situations.
"I can carry more pucks. Game by game, I feel more comfortable carrying the puck," the 22-year-old said of consistently playing. "I don't just like throw it away from me like I did maybe the first couple games. Now I feel more comfortable with it."
In Colorado's 5-3 win at the previously-undefeated New Jersey Devils on Thursday, Kamenev had two shot attempts, a blocked shot and won 4-of-6 faceoffs in 12:36 of ice time.
Bednar trusted the young forward to kill penalties as well as to help the team create offense with the man advantage. Kamenev, along with veteran Carl Soderberg, were the only two players on the Avs to see more than a minute in both situations against the Devils.
"I just want him to keep pushing himself and try and be a difference maker every night. We are seeing him make more and more plays on a nightly basis," Bednar said. "So far so good in his development here. He is getting an opportunity to play because of a couple injuries, and he is getting himself in the conversation to stay in the lineup as these guys come back in."
With each new situation Kamenev is put into, he is able to grow and find more comfort and poise at the high level of NHL competition.
"I think there was good games, and I get better every game that I play," he said of seeing more NHL time. "It helps a lot and I feel more comfortable with that and I know I can play more time. I probably want to try to shoot the puck to the net more to score a goal for the first time."
If Kamenev keeps progressing like he is, that first NHL tally might not be far away.