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Nashville Predators Top 25 Under 25: No. 5 Vladislav Kamenev

With an impressive rookie AHL campaign that led to an AHL All-Star bid, Vladislav Kamenev comes in at number five on our Top 25 Under 25 list.

Gold Medal - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images

No. 5 Vladislav Kamenev (C)

Birthday: August 12, 1996

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 185 lbs

NHL Draft: 2014 2nd Round, 42nd Overall

Milwaukee Admirals (AHL): 57 GP, 15 G, 22 A, 37 P, 35 PIM, -5

Captain, Russia U20 (WJC-U20): 7 GP, 5 G, 1 A, 6 P, 32 PIM, -1

A highly touted pick from the 2014 draft, Vladislav Kamenev jumped into a fourth-line role for premiere KHL club Metalurg Magnitogorsk in the 2014-2015 season. Though Kamenev saw limited action, he was able to retain a spot on their penalty kill; a huge testament to his defensive ability. He also played a second-line center role on the silver medal winning Russia World Junior team that same year.

Going into last season, not many knew what to expect out of Kamenev as he made the transition to North America with the Predators’ AHL affiliate. Though there were definitely a few bumps in the road with the new style of play and the new language, the Russian pivot was highly impressive.

With the Milwaukee Admirals, Kamenev played in the top-six and in all situations (power play and penalty kill). He was also a very relied upon forward when games were tight because of his play on both sides of the puck and his faceoff prowess. For his efforts, the young Russian was named to the AHL All-Star Classic, an honor he turned down so he could get a break after playing in the World Juniors.

Speaking of the World Juniors, Kamenev played a key role for Russia as a captain and was a fixture in the top-six and in all situations. Leading the team with six goals in seven games, Kaptain Kamenev was a very important factor for the Russians as they won their second straight silver medal. In Russia’s semifinal match Kamenev scored the game tying and game winning goals which sent them to the gold medal match. Though his team eventually lost to the offensive powerhouse that was team Finland, he did score a very nice goal to get Russia on the board 1-0.

Going into next season, the future Predator will look to build on his impressive AHL rookie campaign. In my viewings of Kamenev, I’ve absolutely loved his smarts, vision, creative passing ability, puck protection, shot, and defensive reliability. However, I haven’t been too impressed with his ability to be an offensive factor on a consistent basis despite that skill.

As Scott Nichol talked about in the Milwaukee Admirals’ YouTube video below, Kamenev really needs to push the envelope offensively going into the future. He has a ton of skill but he is really hesitant to use it to make difficult plays or draw attention to himself and set up his teammates. While Kamenev doesn’t make a lot of mistakes because he makes really smart, high percentage plays, he could definitely afford to be a bit riskier with the puck; within reason.

If Kamenev can successfully do what the Predators’ staff is asking of him and become a better offensive force he could certainly round out as a top-six center. With equally good scoring and playmaking abilities, I see him as a 20 goal and 30 assist type center in the NHL at his best. Even if his offensive game doesn’t pan out he should still make it to the NHL due to his smarts, faceoff prowess, defensive reliability, and physical play.

Projected NHL Arrival: 2017-2018

2015-2016 Grade: A-

NHL Projection: Second-Line Center

Paul Fenton talks about Kamenev’s detailed game and projects him as a top six center:

Kamenev shows off his nice wrist shot:

Kamenev shows off his creative passing with his spin-o-rama pass:

Kamenev talks about his first North American season through a translator:

All stats via