The first player from the Matt Duchene trade to see action for the Avalanche org, Vladislav Kamenev played in the Rampage/Griffins game in Grand Rapids yesterday. Kamenev coincidentally was in Grand Rapids playing for Milwaukee while the trade was going down and the Rampage were there preparing for Wednesday’s game.
Coach Eric Veilleux slotted the rangy Russian forward at center on the top line between Andrew Agozzino and Reid Petryk and it paid off immediately with this assist less than 6 minutes into the game:
Sadly, the Rampage would end the game down 7-4 after blowing a 4-2 lead.
It’s only one game, and not a good one for the team to boot, but I got a little insight into what Kamenev can bring to the organization. Along with top-line center duties he was on the 1st PP unit, generally slotted into the right half-boards position. He ended up with that assist, a couple of shots on goal and the only goal against he was on the ice for was an empty-netter at the end that was 100% due to a fool play at the blueline by David Warsofsky.
What I gathered from his game overall is that the Rampage, and ultimately the Avs, are getting a very solid 2-way centerman that can make plays in all 3 zones and has very good vision in the offensive zone, especially from his post on the half-wall. His skating looked good but not great but his positioning leveraged this well. He’s definitely got the reputation as a playmaker but I liked his shot just fine. His goals to assists ratio in the AHL seems to indicate his shot is indeed fine.
As many have said since the trade on Sunday, Kamenev was ripe for an NHL shot, perhaps blocked ironically by our good friend Cody McLeod in the Predators organization. Word on the street is that he will be called up to Colorado once the Avs return from Stockholm sometime next week. The Rampage have games vs Chicago and Rockford this weekend then a couple of mid-week contests Tues/Weds vs the Griffs and Stars so I imagine we’ll get to see him in the AHL at least twice more before that happens. Earliest he could play for the Avs is vs the Capitals next Thursday.
I’m excited for this. He’s a more developed and versatile prospect than you normally get at this age (just turned 21 in August) thanks to being in the AHL two seasons ago at age 19. I don’t think he’s going to arrive in the NHL and wow the fans right off the bat but he’s not going to look lost out there either. The other bonus here is that he’s not a skilled yet flawed reclamation project, he’s a legitimate talent that’s been developing in a deep organization that just didn’t have the room for him in the NHL. Stay tuned, more on this as his Avs debut draws near.
Thanks to the San Antonio Rampage for the feature photo above