The sight of a burgundy 91 is a rare occurrence and quite an accomplishment out in the wild. Hopefully this sighting will become more frequent in the season to come as Vladislav Kamenev‘s task is to solidify himself as an Avalanche regular.
Despite a growing trend of 1990s born players selecting the year of their birth as their number of choice, the number 91 does not reflect Kamenev’s birth year (1994). Instead, Kamenev’s preferred choice is 91 because it was the number Sergei Fedorov wore in his 18 year and 1248 game NHL career. Only 25 players in NHL history have worn these threads and as few as seven in the 2017-18 season. However those who rock the 91 are a distinguished group including Steven Stamkos, Tyler Seguin, Vladimir Tarasenko and John Tavares.
As the 42nd overall selection of the Nashville Predators in the 2014 draft, Kamenev has enjoyed a long and fruitful three-year AHL career in North America at the young age of 22 years old. He scored 104 total points in 144 career AHL games, mostly for the Milwaukee Admirals including a 51 point season in 2016-17. He has a total of five NHL games with both Nashville and Colorado with no points yet.
Kamenev arrived in Colorado with much anticipation and fanfare after his inclusion in the Matt Duchene trade. He had to play a few games in San Antonio while the Avalanche were in Sweden for the NHL Global Series but he was quickly called up to make his debut in Colorado shortly after. Unfortunately that debut never got off the ground as future Avalanche for a minute Brooks Orpik delivered a punishing hit which left Kamenev with a badly broken arm. He rehabbed for four months and was able to return at the end of the season for three games with the Rampage and two with the Avalanche but the season was essentially lost at that point.
Now Kamenev’s task is to make an impression on the Avalanche in preseason in order to see if he can make the jump into becoming a full-time NHL player. He has been quite a producer in the AHL including 16 points in his shortened 17 game season in 2017-18. While it might take him a short amount of time to get used to playing regularly again, he’s ready to sink or swim in his next stage of professional hockey development for the man wearing number 91.