With the NHL trading deadline at 2 p.m. CT Friday afternoon, the Winnipeg Jets have made a move to acquire a depth player in veteran centre Vlad Namestnikov from San Jose. In exchange, the Sharks receive a fourth round pick in the 2025 NHL entry draft. It is the fourth time Namestnikov has been dealt at the deadline as he went from Tampa Bay to the NY Rangers in 2018, from Ottawa to Colorado in 2020, and from Detroit to Dallas last year.
Namaste, Namestnikov 🧘♂️ pic.twitter.com/ZEG0jJ97Ol
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) March 3, 2023
Namestnikov, a pending unrestricted free agent with a US$1.25-million salary cap hit, played 57 games this season with Tampa Bay, scoring six goals and adding nine assists for 15 points prior to being dealt on March 1 to San Jose in exchange for former Jet and Manitoba Moose forward Mikey Eyssimont.
The six-foot, 179-pound, left-shot centre has twice played for Jets current bench boss Rick Bowness. In Tampa Bay from 2014-18 when Bowness was an Associate Coach with the Lightning as well as last year when Bowness was the head coach of the Stars.
After coming over in the trade from Detroit, Namestnikov had 3-2-5 in 15 regular season games before adding 1-1-2 in the seven-game playoff loss to Calgary.
The 30-year-old from Zhukovsky, Russia was Tampa Bay’s first-round pick (27th overall) in the 2011 NHL entry draft while playing for the London Knights of the OHL.
In addition to his two tours of duty with the Lightning as well as last year with Detroit and Dallas, Namestnikov has also played for the NY Rangers, Ottawa Senators, and Colorado Avalanche — totalling 113-138-151 in 610 career NHL regular season games.
Namestnikov also brings 48 games of Stanley Cup playoff experience to the Jets dressing room, and has scored six goals and added five assists for 11 points in four separate trips to the post-season.
Last Saturday, the Jets sent a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL entry draft to Nashville for veteran forward Nino Niederreiter who made his Winnipeg debut in Tuesday’s 6-5 shootout loss to the LA Kings.
The Jets open a pivotal home and home series versus Connor McDavid and the Oilers in Edmonton on Friday at 8 p.m. CT. Going into the weekend, just two points separate the teams, with Edmonton holding down the number one Western Conference wild card berth while the Jets lead over Calgary sits at five points for the eighth and final playoff spot.
The rematch is set for Saturday at 6 p.m. CT at Winnipeg’s Canada Life Centre.
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