Vladislav Namestnikov hit the ice for practice today for the first time with his new club and after the skate wrapped up Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion and head coach D.J. Smith met with the media on Tuesday to share their thoughts on team's newest forward.
Dorion on acquiring Namestnikov:
We're very happy to have him on board with our team. We feel that adding someone that can play in our top 6 or top 9 and on both special teams who has great hockey sense, quick hands in tight and has very good pace and quickness will definitely help this hockey team in the short-term but also in the long-term with the compete level that he brings.
On Namestnikov being on their "radar" for some time:
He's someone that our pro scouts have identified as someone that could be available…it was a similar situation as Connor Brown. They've had the chance to see him a lot and through my travels I've had the chance to be in New York a few times when we were playing the Islanders and have gone to see him. I really like how he drives the play and pushes the play and how he uses his skating and compete. We feel those are attributes that are definitely going to help us.
On the experience that he brings to the Senators:
His experience of being on really good teams and teams that have had upward momentum will help this team. When you can add competitive people with talent, I think that only makes you better in the short and longer-term.
How this move fits into the team's rebuild:
We have a plan and we want to make sure that we stick to the plan. The reason we made this trade is that we thought it was going to happen before the season. The two losses haven't affected anything that we've done here because our long-term vision is to make sure that our younger players develop properly in Belleville and at the same time we want to make sure that they don't lose their confidence. We want to make sure that when they're playing for the Ottawa Senators, they can give us their best hockey possible. That not only helps this team but it shows our fans that we're doing it the right way.
On the timing of the trade:
For us, it was more that the price just felt right. The mixture just felt right for him to join our team and we know that he's going to help with his compete level, he's going to help the veterans but at the same time he's going to show the younger players how it's done. He's been around…I call him a younger veteran and I think he'll fit right in with our group.
Video: Oct. 8 | Vladislav Namestnikov
Smith's thoughts on adding Namestnikov to their forward group:
He's a player that can play in all situations and he'll get that opportunity here. He's done that before and I think his game has really come around. He was an offensive player in Junior when I watched him play and then he's really learned to play the defensive side of the game in the NHL. As you can see today, he's got some skill and some quickness that will make us a better team.
The benefits of having Namestnikov on the roster:
It certainly makes us a faster team but I think it allows us to keep our guys a lot more accountable, it allows us to keep the young guys down there and really it's a good move for us now and it's a good move for us later because it allows the young guys to continue to develop (in Belleville).
How Namestnikov's acquisition impacts the team's young prospects:
That's our plan; that these guys get reps down there and they gain confidence so when they come up, they're ready. Without the player that we get today, we're an injury away from having to call up another guy and I think this just gives us more depth that buys us a little bit of time until Balcers comes back in a month. Now you've got some more bodies to use.
On the fresh start that Ottawa can offer Namestnikov:
He's at a pivotal point in his career. He's 26 years old, he's a UFA at the end of the year and he's certainly going to do everything he can for himself so that helps us as a team. I think a lot of times what happens is that he gets on a team like New York that has a really high-end power play and some high-end players and you get stuck in the mix. Sometimes a change of scenery can really get you going and we're hoping that's the case.
On the opportunity that exists here for players like Namestnikov:
We're looking for some offence and we're looking for someone that can play on the power play and penalty kill but also help our overall team speed. It also allows us to hold more people accountable, when they're not going there are more bodies with more NHL experience that can play up and down the line-up.