Memorial Cup Game Night: 5-27-12

2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup

Shawinigan Cataractes 2 vs London Knights 1 (OT)

C Vladislav Namestnikov , LDN: 0-0-0, -1, 2 SOG, 2 PIM (holding), 0 Hits
MemCup Totals: 4 GP, 2-0-2, -3, 4 PIM
Playoff Totals: 19 GP, 4-14-18, +10, 18 PIM
Season Totals: 63 GP, 22-49-71, +15, 50 PIM

Shawinigan won the Memorial Cup for the first time in their history (43 years) when undrafted Russian import player Anton Zlobin, a 40-goal scorer in the regular season, scored late in the first overtime for the Cats. It was Zlobin’s second goal of the game. He will re-enter the draft this year.

Columbus prospect Michael Chaput, a former Flyers draft pick acquired in a trade, was named the tournament’s most valuable player. Lightning prospects Brad Richards and Dustin Tokarski have won it in the past.

Shawinigan was only the second team to win the tiebreaker, semifinals, and finals en route to the championship (Windsor Spitfires).

Current Lightning prospect Vladislav Namestnikov was involved in three prime scoring chances, including one in overtime when he was stationed at the side of the net and he had the puck bounce over his stick. Earlier in the game he set up longtime linemate and former Lightning camper Seth Griffith for a nifty one timer that was saved. Namestnikov used his speed to chase down Coyotes first rounder Brandon Gormley, but instead of beating him to the puck he faked like he was going to challenge for the puck from the inside, then darted around him to the outside, lifted Gormley’s stick, stole the puck, pivoted, and found a trailing Griffith for the shot.

Early in the third period Namestnikov was the victim of a late hit and he hit the boards hard – possibly his head. He remained on the ice for a few minutes before being escorted to the bench by a trainer. He was out on the power play seconds later, but had a bad giveaway then looked shaky on his skates as he prevented a scoring chance at the other end of the rink. He didn’t see the ice again until overtime, and he didn’t look like himself in the extra session.

Next year Namestnikov will be in the AHL or back in the Ontario Hockey League. His skill set, speed, and vision project as first-line quality, but his frame is slender and he will be knocked around easily at the NHL level. Plus, Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman likes his prospects to patiently develop if the situation allows it. Namestnikov is already signed to an NHL contract. He has a long offseason of weight training ahead of him.