Vladislav Kamenev is perhaps not an obvious choice for the Montreal Canadiens going by the available draft rankings, but I would argue this has more to do with where he is playing than what his talent level is. The 6'2", 195 pound left winger has a very wide skills package to go along with his impressive size.
The obvious risk that is knocking down his ranking is where he plays, he is signed to Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the Kontinental Hockey League and played for their developmental team this season after only having limited time with the pro club as a 17-year old.
The second element to his lower draft ranking was sparse playing time over the year, he played 16 games with 1 point in the KHL and only 15 games in the MHL, where he had 10 points in 15 games.
Kamenev brings a number of valuable skills to the table. His skating is rated by all available reports to be strong with good acceleration behind it.
He is well-rated as a playmaker, with good vision and a strong stick that allows him to control the puck on zone entries and distribute it as he spots opportunities. He is rated with a strong shot with a good release, but seems often hesitant to shoot the puck and will miss opportunities because of it.
He is not a limited offence-only skater either as he shows good awareness in all three zones and brings a physical dimension to any game he plays. It is also worth noting that he does not turn 18 until August so he is one of the younger players in this draft and could have more room to grow versus others.
"Kamenev is one skilled Russian prospect. His biggest strengths appear to be his vision and passing ability, but you can’t discount his impressive size. A really creative passer with great accuracy and timing, Kamenev also shows strong balance and acceleration in his skating. Kamenev is a strong, two-way player as well, and is really good in the faceoff circle. ."
"Enjoyed a coming out party at the 2013 World Junior A Challenge finishing fourth in tournament scoring (5-1-6-7) and helped Russia capture their first silver medal, their best result at this tournament .. a brute physical player who can be guilty of playing over the edge and taking unnecessary infractions .."
"Our first viewings of Kamenev were at the World Under 17 in Victoriaville. He didn’t get a whole lot of ice time. He played on a line with Yazkov and Kraskovsky and Svechnikov subbed in as well. Kamenov showed off his skill when we got to see him. Kamenev is a big skilled forward with good natural offensive instincts."
Future Considerations: 41
Hockey Prospect: 35
McKeen's Hockey: 59
Craig Button: 12
Average Ranking: 35.2
Is he a target for the Canadiens? Doubtful. So far the club hasn't taken a player out of the European leagues in the 1st round since Andrei Kostitsyn in 2003 and Kamenev would have had to really catch the eye of the team's scouts for him to be on their radar in his international showings this year.
Should he be under consideration? Yes, the team is in need of potential game-breaking ability and at this stage of the draft, he is probably one of the highest-upside players likely to still be on the board. Fears of trying to draw a player out of the KHL with the ongoing decline of Russian-born players in the NHL will likely keep him available at this spot as well. In a year where the likely North American-based players are likely to have realistic ceilings as 3rd-liners in the NHL by the time Montreal has their turn, they should consider the potential reward involved in picking up a potential Top-6 asset.