New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with restricted free agent forward Vladislav Namestnikov on a two-year contract.
Namestnikov, 25, skated in 81 games with the Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning this past season, registering 22 goals and 26 assists for 48 points, along with a plus-six rating and 45 penalty minutes. He established career-highs in several categories in 2017-18, including games played, goals, assists, points, power play goals (nine), shots on goal (155), and average ice time (17:05). Namestnikov notched at least one point in 36 of 81 games during the season, and his team posted a 31-4-1 record in the 36 contests in which he recorded at least one point. He tallied two points (one goal, one assist), including his first goal, assist, and point as a Ranger, while making his debut with the Blueshirts on February 28, 2018 at Vancouver. At the time he was acquired by the Rangers from Tampa Bay, Namestnikov ranked second on the Lightning in power play goals (eight), ranked fifth in goals (20), and was tied for fifth in points (44) in 2017-18.
The 5-11, 180-pounder has skated in 282 career NHL games over parts of five seasons (2013-14 - 2017-18) with the Rangers and Tampa Bay, registering 55 goals and 72 assists for 127 points, along with a plus-19 rating and 138 penalty minutes. Namestnikov has recorded at least 30 points in two of the last three seasons, and he established a career-high in plus/minus rating in 2015-16 (plus-17). He has also skated in 29 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, as he helped the Lightning advance to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014-15 and to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final in 2015-16.
Namestnikov has earned several awards and honors throughout his career at the junior level, professional level, and in international competition. He helped Russia earn a bronze medal at the 2017 IIHF World Championship, as he registered six points (three goals, three assists) and a plus-seven rating in 10 games. Namestnikov participated in the AHL All-Star Game in 2014-15, as he registered 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) in 34 AHL games during the season. In addition, he helped the London Knights win the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Championship during his final season of junior hockey in 2011-12, and he recorded 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) in 19 playoff games during the 2012 OHL Playoffs.
The Zhukovskiy, Russia native was acquired by the Rangers from Tampa Bay, along with Libor Hajek, Brett Howden, a first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, and a conditional first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, in exchange for Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller on February 26, 2018. Namestnikov was originally selected by Tampa Bay in the first round, 27th overall, of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.