Nikita Tryamkin leaving does not destroy the rebuild

Shocking news came over Canucks Nation last night: Nikita Tryamkin would not be a Canuck going forward.

The defenseman is expected to sign with Avtomobilist of the KHL, the team the Canucks drafted him from. Tryamkin’s reasons, translated through Google from this article:

At one of the recent press conferences, you said that “they just wanted to play hockey.” Your transition to “Motorist” is associated with the desire to get more gaming practice?
Yes. During the season I was not happy with some matches. Sometimes I just did not understand – why? I could play 20 minutes, I could play 16, I could play 12. And on what it depended, I did not understand. So, having arrived in the “Motorist”, I continue to work. I have gained colossal experience both in the hall and on the ice. I want to improve. And, as I said, I do not think this is a step back.

Did you meet the head coach? He was waiting for you very much. As late as November, there were rumors about your possible return …
I had an incomprehensible situation. I did not play the first 10 matches. Indeed, there were talks about the return, but Vancouver did not let me go, so I stayed. As it happened, it happened.

It is impossible to blame him for leaving. Tryamkin looked like our best defender on some nights, if not one of on most nights. When the ice time given seems to be completely arbitrary and there’s no knowing what a new coach might do, it is both understandable and unfortunate that he did not want to come back in a period of uncertainty for the organization.

Who knows, perhaps this was a primary reason Willie Desjardins was fired. It could also play into why Jim Benning has been looking at a defenseman early on in the first round, as a contingency plan.

That being said, while this is not ideal, it does not decimate the rebuild, although our defensive depth is considerably less exciting and has considerably less snarl. Tryamkin will continue to develop in the KHL, and the right side is not all that clogged anymore – Chris Tanev, Troy Stecher, and Erik Gudbranson will continue to do their work on that side of the ice. Alex Edler, Ben Hutton, and one of Luca Sbisa, Olli Juolevi, a different prospect, or a free agent defenseman will make up the left side.

The forward core looks to be young and exciting this year – Brock Boeser, Nikolay Goldobin, and perhaps even Jonathan Dahlén and/or a first round draft pick could join the team as well. Boeser scored four goals in nine games with the Canucks at the end of this season (on pace for just under 40 over 82 games), while Goldobin scored four goals in three games for Utica. Dahlén scored 44 points over 45 games in his draft +1 year in the Swedish Allsvenskan league, which is better than what Filip Forsberg put up (33 in 38) in the same timeframe in his career.

And again, there is that exciting first-round pick. As the draft lottery is not until April 29, the Canucks could pick anywhere from 1st to 5th – meaning they will likely select one of the well-rounded Nolan Patrick, the dynamic and shifty Nico Hischier, the mature and consistent workaholic Gabriel Vilardi, the elusive and hard-working Casey Mittlestadt, or a defenseman – which could include puck-moving Cale Makar, the Ed Helms lookalike Miro Heiskanen, the dependable Juuso Valimaki (who reminds Jeff Marek of Olli Juolevi), or the offensively creative Timothy Liljegren. There’s also options down the board more if they end up in that 5th overall spot, such as Elias Pettersson, a centerman who is touted as one of the smartest players in the draft, or Martin Necas, who Craig Button has said reminds him of Claude Giroux (although my personal hope is the Canucks take one of Hischier or Mittlestadt).

The Canucks could also look at taking someone like Jaret Anderson-Dolan with pick #33 as well.

Losing Tryamkin is a setback, no doubt about it. But there is plenty of talent about to come through Vancouver, and I haven’t even mentioned Thatcher Demko yet. When Tryamkin comes back (hopefully developed better than he was this season), it will be a credit to this team.

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