Larry Brooks writes that the Rangers intend to start next season with Vlad Namestnikov as a winger and not a center. (NY Post)
Brooks notes that Namestnikov could switch back to center in the event that a player like Lias Andersson or Filip Chytil struggle and need time in Hartford. (NY Post)
Namestnikov had 4 points in 19 games after coming to the Rangers, playing both on the wing and in the middle.
Asked about Namestnikov, Jeff Gorton said earlier in the week that the Rangers view him as a "real versatile guy" that can play center, both wings and on special teams.
He added that Namestnikov could step in if a young player is struggling and that he, at 25-26 years old, is the type of player the Rangers want right now.
Gorton said that he thinks Namestnikov will be in a "better place" this season and get a fresh start, adding that it was "pretty clear" he wanted to be with the Rangers.
Adam Rotter: With so much time before training camp and still so many possible roster variations, it's hard to know where Namestnikov would fit best. The wing is definitely the right spot, but with who and on what line are questions that can't be answered until David Quinn convenes his group in September. Alain Vigneault always liked to have forward duos and then mix and match a third guy. I'd like to see him get another shot with Zibanejad and Buchnevich, which then likely puts Kreider with Chytil/Hayes and Zuccarello and Jimmy Vesey Chytil/Hayes with Ryan Spooner, a young player or someone who is not yet with the organization. Ultimately this will play itself out in training camp and Namestnikov's play will determine who he skates with and how much ice time he ends up getting.