By Jim Diamond
Seeing his first NHL preseason action, Nashville Predators prospect Vladislav Kamenev did not disappoint in the front end of Nashville’s doubleheader of exhibition tilts held Sunday at Bridgestone Arena.
At just 19-years-old, Kamenev is expected to play his first season in North America in 2015-16. If Sunday’s very small sample size is any indication, the 6’2” Russian looks like he will make the transition to the smaller rinks just fine.
Kamenev had a strong showing, scoring once in generating three shots on goal along with two others that missed the target. On his goal, Kamenev was the beneficiary of a strong individual effort by defenseman Ryan Ellis.
Ellis, sporting a summer’s worth of growth in what can be best characterized as a Yukon Cornelius-esque beard, drove down the right side and curled a pass to the left, where Kamenev was there to sneak a quick shot between Panthers goaltender Mike McKenna and the near post.
“That’s usually where a guy is going to be,” Ellis said. “When you chip it by, he’s never going to be right on the back side. I just kind of threw it to an area and figured someone would be there and luckily it got right to him.”
Ellis said he got to know Kamenev a little prior to the start of training camp.
“I was a couple weeks early and so was he,” Ellis said. “He had a banged up shoulder, but he showed flashes of brilliance out there. He’s kind of your prototypical Russian; great hands, great vision, and skates well for a bigger guy. I thought he did great. It was a good shot off of the wing there. Overall though, I thought he was making plays as well. It’s good to see from a young kid.”
In 15:50 of ice time Sunday, Kamenev led all Predators skaters in shorthanded time on ice with 4:21.
Following Sunday night’s second game, Predators head coach Peter Laviolette liked what he saw from Kamenev and fellow Russian Yakov Trenin, who played in Game 2.
“I thought he did a good job,” Laviolette said. “Both he and Trenin, coming in for really playing their first set of games, I thought they both played well. Big centermen that can move, they seem to be pretty smart two-way players. Both had some nice 1-on-1 moves out there.”
With very few roster spots up for grabs in training camp, Kamenev is likely slated to start the season with the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League.
Kamenev played for Magnitogorsk Metallurg of the KHL last season, posting six goals and adding three assists in 41 games played.