Prospect of the Week: 11.14.11

This season Bolt Prospects introduced our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their on-ice contributions. There are no trophies or plaques or Ginsu knife sets involved, but we’re fairly certain this will satisfy all needs of attention and self-worth.

Quite simply, we wanted to highlight prospects throughout the year to help fans get better acquainted with the next round of Lightning stars while recognizing the prospect’s achievement on the ice.

This week’s BP Prospect of the Week award goes to … Vladislav Namestnikov, London Knights (OHL).

Namestnikov has been on fire lately with five multi-point games in his last eight matches. He has 14 points in those eight games.

This past Friday he scored twice in a 4-3 loss to Sault Ste. Marie, then scored another two the following night in a win against Erie. He added an assist in the Otters game to give him five points for the weekend. He was also named First Star in both games. In addition, Vladdy added an assist with Team Russia vs. Team OHL in the Subway Canada-Russia Superseries Thursday in Ottawa.

He has at least a point in nine of his last 10 games and has five goals in his last three contests.

Namestnikov is one point shy of Seth Griffith – a member of the Lightning for the Coral Springs Prospect Tournament this summer – for the Knights lead in scoring. His 26 points this season are good enough for 15th in the league and his 14 goals are fourth most in the OHL.

Namestnikov, the Lightning’s surprise first round pick in 2011, is a do-it-all center with elite level speed and hands to go with an aggressive approach to his game. Where he needs to grow is in his weight (he’s listed at 175) as he’s very light for his age and he needs bulk to play the way he does against older competition. Vladdy projects to be a strong No.2 center down the road – likely behind Steven Stamkos someday on the Lightning – but that road must be filled with patience. It’s unlikely he’ll be physically mature enough to make the Bolts next fall, even if he did use Brett Connolly’s physical trainer in Toronto next summer. It’s not uncommon by any means for late first rounders to play out their junior eligibility, which is what we expect Namestnikov to do in a development-rich environment in London.

Previous BP Prospects of the Week:

Dustin Tokarski, Norfolk Admirals - November 6, 2011
Riku Helenius, JYP (Finland) - October 30, 2011
Matthew Peca, Quinnipiac Bobcats - October 23, 2011
Radko Gudas, Norfolk Admirals - October 16, 2011
Carter Ashton, Norfolk Admirals - October 9, 2011
Brett Connolly, Tampa Bay Lightning - October 2, 2011
Mattias Ritola, Tampa Bay Lightning - September 25, 2011