The Detroit Red Wings added to their free-agency haul, inking forward Vladislav Namestnikov to a two-year contract.
Originally drafted by Steve Yzerman and the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2011, Namestnikov already has a prior connection to his new team. His uncle on his mother’s side of the family just so happens to be former Russian Five forward Slava Kozlov, who was a key member of the 1997 and 1998 Stanley Cup winning squads.
When Yzerman called to offer him a new deal, it wasn’t a difficult decision to make.
“I’ve known him for a long time,” Namestnikov said of Yzerman. “He drafted me in Tampa, and definitely helps when you’re familiar with the GM. That came into play when I made my decision and I’m happy it worked out here.”
“Detroit was always at the top of my list, and I”m beyond grateful…It’s kind of all settling in right now, it still doesn’t feel real that I’m here with the Red Wings.”
It won’t be much of an adjustment for Namestnikov coming to the Motor City, as it was the area his family settled in after relocating from his native Russia; it’s also where he spends his summers.
“It still doesn’t feel real, but it feels like coming home. It’s my summer home for many years and I grew up here….I’m beyond excited, and hopefully we can get it started here soon.”
Of course, it certainly helps that he already knows several of his teammates thanks to offseason workouts.
“I Know everyone I think. I don’t know some of the younger guys, I’m sure I’ll meet them in the next couple of days. I’ve skated and worked out with them for the last ten years, so I think it’ll be a pretty easy adjustment.”
In 425 career NHL games, Namestnikov has scored 83 goals to go with 106 assists; he’s also amassed 227 PIM.