Elliotte Friedman wrote over the weekend that he is "curious" to see what the Rangers will do with Vlad Namestnikov. (Sportsnet)
Namestnikov is an RFA that is arbitration eligible. (Sportsnet)
The Hockey News Free Agent preview suggests that Namestnikov will get between $3 million and $4 million as an RFA.
Namestnikov, 25, had 4 points in 19 games for the Rangers after being acquired.
With Tampa Bay this season he had 44 points in 62 game after netting 48 points in 81 in 2016-17.
Jeremy Rutherford listed Namestnikov as someone that the St. Louis Blues may have interest in to potentially bolster their offense. (The Athletic)
He notes that with Namestnikov being arbitration eligible and an RFA, there is speculation that the Rangers may be open to moving to him. (The Athletic)
Adam Rotter: Namestnikov is one of the more interesting Rangers to watch over the net few weeks. He was disappointing in his stint with the Rangers last season but it has to be a big shift to go from playing on the top-line of one of the top teams to joining the middle of the lineup of a team that was focused on the future. He also dealt with a shoulder injury, though that appeared to happen later on after the trade.
The Rangers have a few different potential options with Namestnikov. They can sign him to a new deal and fold him into the group of Rangers that the organization hopes will lead the turn around. They could not qualify him and allow him to become a UFA, though that seems extremely unlikely. Then there are the trade options the Rangers have. They could look to make a hockey trade and move Namestnikov for a younger player, maybe a defenseman or a prospect that be close to playing in the NHL. He could be used, along with one of the first round picks, to move up and get a higher pick in the first round. Maybe he would used with the second or third round picks the Rangers to move up higher in those rounds or possibly in some sort of deal to acquire another first round pick. Then there is the chance he is used by the Rangers as part of some package to land an impact player of some sort.
My guess would be that Namestnikov is moved with some draft picks to move up. Maybe he is part of a deal, along with #9, to move up higher in the top-10 or along with the Tampa or Boston pick to move up into the teens. Maybe he sticks around and centers an all Russian line with Pavel Buchnevich and Ilya Kovalchuk? The Rangers have a lot of options but the feeling from most, at least as of right now, is that it's more likely he is moved than re-signed.