Vancouver Canucks: Slow Down the Tryamkin Hype

Mar 14, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks fans do the wave during the second period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 14, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks fans do the wave during the second period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vancouver Canucks have signed defensive giant Nikita Tryamkin, and the fan base is going nuts.

The Vancouver Canucks signing defenceman Nikita Tryamkin was huge (pun intended). But, it is time to slow down the hype train.

If everything goes well, Tryamkin could become a Zdeno Chara-sized player who is just as good as Chara was in his prime — even though he doesn’t want to be compared to the Boston Bruins’ giant. But, to be honest, the chances of him being nothing more than a career KHL D-man are just as high.

Tryamkin was passed over in the draft. Not once but twice.

Just two months before his 20th birthday, at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, the Canucks decided he was good enough. Tryamkin had played his first full season in the KHL and won bronze with Team Russia at the World Junior Championship.

Even then, the Canucks selected him in the third round (66th overall) of the draft. Disregarding the fact that he was passed over twice, third-round picks seldom get Tryamkin’s kind of hype and attention.

So what is it that makes fans think Tryamkin could be a top-four defenceman for Vancouver as early as next season? The kid has never even played a game in the NHL!

One word: size.

Unrealistic Expectations

As soon as Tryamkin enters a room, he turns heads — upward that is.

Tryamkin looks like the prototype of a defensive juggernaut.

In a league that has more than a handful of general managers who publicly state they want more size on their roster while players like Johnny Gaudreau prove that size is not everything, Tryamkin looks like the prototype of a defensive juggernaut.

However, that is not everything.

In addition to his size, Tryamkin is said to be a superb skater who is incredibly mobile — not only but especially considering his size.

Furthermore, he is said to have a bomb of a shot and know how to move and pass the puck. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Looking at his stats, however, we get a different image.

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Since 2011, Tryamkin has appeared in a total of 334 games in the Russian junior league MHL, the KHL, the Spengler Cup, the Nadezhda Cup, and the World Juniors. In those 334 games, he has a goal total of 27 along with 50 assists.

So, does 27 goals and 77 points in 334 games sound like an offensive force to you? While making your decision, keep in mind that eight goals and 18 points of that total came in 28 games in Russia’s junior league, where he played at age 18 before making the jump to the KHL.

Now 21 years old, Tryamkin finished the 2015-16 season with four goals and 12 points in 59 games.

Those are regular numbers for a defensive defenceman, but we are talking about a guy who supposedly has top-four two-way potential and played in a league whose top-scoring defencemen are former Canuck Cam Barker and Kevin Dallman.

Neither one of those D-men managed to have a big NHL career, so they escaped to Russia.

So, how is Tryamkin supposed to come into the NHL and be a top-four guy who contributes offensively?

Realistic Expectations

Let’s talk about some realistic expectations.

Nikita Tryamkin is a huge, mobile defenceman. All things considered, he should have the potential to be a solid shutdown D-man on the third pair.

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However, he needs time. Time to adjust to the smaller ice surface, the NHL pace, the new environment, new people, new coach — simply everything about his new life.

Tryamkin does not even speak English, so hanging out with the Canucks’ other youngsters won’t necessarily make his situation any easier.

The Vancouver Canucks and their fans need patience. It’s as simple as that.

If Tryamkin steps out on the ice for Monday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets, don’t get mad or disappointed if he looks lost out there. If Tryamkin is the worst player on the ice in his first game, everything went perfectly normal.

Now, once Tryamkin gets accustomed to his new environment, the new style of hockey and the new language, he certainly has the potential to be more than a seventh D-man. After all, he’s just the 17th player of the 2014 Draft to make the NHL — as a third-round pick.

Next: EVERYTHING You Need to Know About Tryamkin

Five years down the road, Tryamkin could totally be on the Canucks’ second defensive pairing and record 30 or 35 points with 10 goals. He could be a great player in his prime.

Just don’t expect him to be the club’s new No. 1 D-man as soon as he plays his first game, and don’t be sad if he becomes nothing more than a solid defensive defenceman.