The Tampa Bay Lightning selected center Vladislav Namestnikov with the 27th overall pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota tonight, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Namestnikov, 6-foot, 166 pounds, was ranked 11th among all North American skaters according to NHL Central Scouting. He spent last season with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, where he registered 30 goals and 68 points in 68 games played. In just his first season with the Knights, Namestnikov led the club in goals, including 11 on the power play, and also ranked first on the team with a plus-12 rating. He also skated in a team-leading six postseason games with London, notching five points, which was the third-highest total on the team.
A native of Voskresensk, Russia, Namestnikov represented his native country at the 2010 Under-18 World Championships in Belarus, tying for the team lead with five goals in seven games played, while also helping Russia to a fourth-place finish. He also represented his country at the World Under-17 Challenge, where he tallied eight goals and recorded 10 points in five games.
With a population of approximately 78,000, Namestnikov’s hometown is rich in hockey tradition, as former NHLers Igor Larionov, Sergei Berezin, Slava Kozlov and Valeri Kamensky also hail from Voskresensk. His father, Evgeny Namestnikov, was drafted 117th overall by the Vancouver Canucks at the 1991 NHL Entry Draft and played in 43 NHL games with the Canucks, New York Islanders and Nashville Predators from 1993 until 2000 before returning to play in his native Russia.
Namestnikov is the first player in Tampa Bay franchise history to be chosen with the 27th overall selection.