Should the Red Wings bring Vladislav Namestnikov back next season?

COLUMBUS, OH - MAY 07: Vladislav Namestnikov #92 of the Detroit Red Wings controls the puck during the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on May 7, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - MAY 07: Vladislav Namestnikov #92 of the Detroit Red Wings controls the puck during the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on May 7, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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Vladislav Namestnikov
Vladislav Namestnikov, Detroit Red Wings(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

What role could Vladislav Namestnikov play for the Red Wings in the upcoming 22-23 season?

As the Red Wings continue to improve and add hot rookies and solid veterans to the lineup, it will become more difficult for players like Namestnikov to secure a spot on the roster. For the upcoming season I feel like Vlady could be a solid center for the third or fourth lines on the team. I feel like between him and Michael Rassmussen we could have two solid centers in the bottom 6.

If you are only looking at points, there are a lot of players in the league that could fill a spot as center on one of the four lines. What I really like about Namestnikov is the spirit that he brings to the ice for the Wings. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone on the team grab the winged wheel on their sweater and raise it up as often as Vlady did after a putting one in the net.

Now I’m not saying that any of the other guys on the team don’t have pride in who they play for, it’s just that with Namestnikov it really shows that he is pumped to be a Red Wing. There is definitely some guys out there that would love the opportunity to play for the Red Wings. It’s just hard to find a guy that has always wanted to play for the team.

Does it make financial sense to bring Vladislav Namestnikov back for another year?

According to the Free Agents Tracker at his cap hit for the 21-22 season came in at $2M. Is there someone else out there right now that could come in at the same price and make a bigger impact? Is there another free agent available this summer that could have the same impact on the ice with a smaller impact to the salary cap?

In the salary range around the $2M dollar mark some pretty decent centers are available this year.  Andreas Athanasiou (Los Angeles), Mattias Janmark (Las Vegas), and Calle Jarnkrok (Calgary) could be options that would cost more for Double A at $2.7M or the same on the cap hit for the other two.

There are also  a couple guys that currently have a lower cap hit than Nemestnikov. Noel Acciari (Florida), and Nicholas Paul are the best looking options among players that may come cheaper. Nicholas Paul may want a little more pay on his next contract after scoring the only goals for Tampa in game 7 against Toronto recently.

One player that put up one more point than Vlady did this year and has less than half the cap hit is Ryan Donato (Seattle) at $750k so he could be a great offseason pick up. Also worth mentioning is that Sam Gagner is also an UFA this year and only has a cap hit of $850k. He also tallied one more point this season than Namestnikov.

So what should the Red Wings do, bring him back or let him go?

If Donato could be picked up for around $1.25M he would be someone that worth getting instead especially since he is 3 years younger than Nemestnikov. The team could also let him go and keep Gagner around while giving him a raise and still save some cap space for a big signing.

With Pius Suter and Joe Veleno having decent seasons and on contract for the 22-23 season already there might not be a spot on the team for Vlady. With Larkin and Fabri centering the top six, and Suter and Rasmussen on the bottom six with Veleno in Grand Rapids ready to fill in if needed, the team is already where it needs to be.

The cap space that opened up could also be spent on adding another solid defensemen, a high scoring wing, or the next partner for Nedeljkovic in the net if Greiss does not get signed again. I feel like it may be worth letting him go and moving forward with the centers that the Wings currently have and use the cap space to grab someone new and younger for the team next season.

It would certainly not be a crazy move to bring Namestnikov back next year, he is a solid center that loves the Red Wings. However, I think the best move is for the team to look for someone new to bring on. What are your thoughts on the topic. We would love to hear from you in the comments section below!