The Colorado Avalanche have come to terms with another one of their restricted free agents, signing Vladislav Kamenev to a one-year contract. Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now reports the deal is worth $750K. Kamenev was not arbitration eligible and played just 23 NHL games last season. He will still be an RFA at the conclusion of the contract.
Kamenev, 22, was one of the more unheralded parts of the original Matt Duchene trade in 2017, coming over from the Nashville Predators alongside Samuel Girard. He may have had a bigger impact if he hadn’t broken his arm in his first game for the team and dealt with several other injuries since. In fact, the young forward has played just 35 games at any level in almost two full seasons in the Avalanche organization, unable to make an impact in the AHL or NHL.
That will all hopefully change this year as the 2014 second round pick is healthy and ready to compete for a spot in training camp. That spot may be difficult to grab however, given the improved depth the Avalanche have added this summer. The team brought in Nazem Kadri, Joonas Donskoi, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Andre Burakovsky to lengthen out their forward group, which may mean Kamenev finds himself on the outside looking in. Unfortunate for Colorado, the young forward is no longer waiver exempt and would be at risk of claim if they tried to send him down.
When still in the Nashville organization, there was plenty of hype that Kamenev could establish himself as a solid third-line center in the NHL one day. He had good success in the minor leagues and was a polished defensive option. That path has been derailed at this point and he’ll need to find some consistent playing time in order to get back on that development trajectory. Where that playing time comes is unclear at this point.