Younger Stars: Canucks a diminutive ahead with a well-known identify

Max Namestnikov, son of former Canucks defenceman Evgeny “Name me John” Namestnikov, goes to Canucks Younger Stars camp.

There are a issues about Max Namestnikov which can be exhausting to disregard, his final identify, his quick stature and his apparent need to make it in skilled hockey.

To begin with, there’s the final identify, which is fairly acquainted to Vancouver Canucks followers of a sure classic.

You are reading: Younger Stars: Canucks a diminutive ahead with a well-known identify

His father is Evgeny Namestnikov, who instructed everybody to name him “John” and gained a cult following as a depth defenceman for the Vancouver Canucks within the mid-Nineties.

Peak isn’t one thing he’s shy to speak about.

The speedy ahead, who was born and grew up within the Detroit space, was on the Canucks’ summer season improvement camp and has been invited again for subsequent weekend’s Younger Stars camp in Penticton.

He’s been skating at Scotia Barn in Burnaby alongside a gaggle of Canucks in preparation. Meaning going up towards Tyler Myers, simply in regards to the greatest dimension disparity you will discover for Namestnikov.

The ahead is listed at 5-foot-8 however that feels beneficiant.

“It’s slightly sure and slightly no,” Namestnikov stated on whether or not being smaller can really be a bonus when he’s up towards larger gamers, not to mention a relative large like Myers. “These guys have such a protracted attain. I’ve received a brief attain. Yeah, they’ve a bonus there.”

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“However these guys aren’t quick,” he added with a smile.

Sarnia Sting’s Max Namestnikov follows through on a shot while being defended by Flint Firebirds’ Simon Slavicek in the first period at Progressive Auto Sales Arena in Sarnia, Ont., on Monday, Feb. 21, 2022.
Sarnia Sting’s Max Namestnikov follows via on a shot whereas being defended by Flint Firebirds’ Simon Slavicek within the first interval at Progressive Auto Gross sales Enviornment in Sarnia, Ont., on Monday, Feb. 21, 2022. SunMedia

Velocity, he acknowledges, can be what permit him to in the end make it.

Taking part in towards a lot larger gamers is nothing new, after all. He starred in minor hockey for Detroit Honeybaked as a 15 12 months outdated, averaging two factors per recreation, earlier than being drafted by the Sarnia Sting of the OHL in 2020.

He made his OHL debut final season as a 17 12 months outdated, tallying 40 factors in 68 video games. He went undrafted on this summer season’s NHL Entry Draft and is now within the tick of the ‘prove-it’ life.

Namestnikov’s pedigree is spectacular. Past his father, who performed 33 common season and two playoff video games within the mid-Nineties, he has two uncles who performed within the NHL: Slava Kozlov and Ivan Novoseltsev.

There’s not a variety of video round of his dad taking part in, so he’s not seen a lot of his dad in motion however he’s actually heard all about how he performed. His dad wasn’t large both, at 5-foot-10, 189 kilos, however was identified for being a giant hitter and a hard-nosed defence.

“He’s principally simply given me suggestions. I couldn’t actually watch him rising up. He offers me a bunch of suggestions these days. My complete profession he’s been giving me recommendation however principally I’ve been trying as much as my brother,” he stated.

Over the previous decade, his brother Vlad has carved out a effective profession as a hustling grinder, good for 30 factors or so each season whereas being a reliable two-way ahead.

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He broke into the NHL with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was traded on the deadline in 2018, having already scored a profession excessive 20 objectives that season. He was a part of a package deal going to the New York Rangers for Ryan McDonough and J.T. Miller. Tampa would flip Miller a 12 months later to the Canucks.

He’s realized so much from his brother, who’s 12 years older.

“Simply how briskly to play, how exhausting to work. How significantly to take your self off the ice. Tips on how to care for your physique. Simply little stuff like that,” Namestnikov stated.

As an undrafted CHL participant, he might signal an NHL entry-level deal, however would solely be allowed to play professional hockey this season if he have been saved on an NHL roster. In any other case he have to be despatched again to Sarnia.

So greater than possible, he’ll simply head again to junior after his Younger Stars expertise with the Canucks is over, a free agent in NHL phrases. He could possibly be drafted subsequent 12 months, giving an NHL crew his rights for 2 years earlier than having to signal him.

“It’s been a grind. I’ve simply been placing a variety of work in. Simply burying my head down and dealing. Simply attempting to show that I can hopefully be part of this group and simply show myself,” he stated.

“Simply present everyone what I can do and hope for the perfect.”

BLUE LINES — Not one of the Canucks’ unsigned Europeans can be at Younger Stars camp, so there can be a lot of undrafted and unsigned prospects like Namestnikov in blue and inexperienced. A type of can be defenceman Matt Anderson, who graduated from Minnesota-Duluth final spring and performed 5 ECHL video games for the South Carolina Stingrays to complete final season. Anderson’s agent is Ben Hankinson, who additionally represents Brock Boeser.

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