Vancouver Canucks D Nikita Tryamkin Returns to KHL Avtomobilist

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Nikita Tryamkin will return to Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg of the KHL after one season in the NHL.

The Vancouver Canucks have lost everyone’s favorite giant after just one full season with the club.

Tryamkin was drafted by the Canucks in the third round, 66th overall, of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He spent two more seasons in Russia before joining the Canucks for 13 games in the 2015-16 season.

At the start of 2016-17, things didn’t look great for the 6-foot-7 blueliner. Canucks management criticised him for not being in game shape, and therefore decided to bench him for the first 10 games of the season.

Whether Tryamkin eventually put in the necessary work or the decision was entirely due to injuries is unknown, but following those 10 games, Tryamkin became a regular in the NHL lineup. Moreover, he became a vital piece of the Canucks’ blue line and a fan favorite.

In 79 games for the Canucks, Tryamkin recorded three goals and 11 points while being a punishing physical presence on the back end.

So why did he leave?

It seems like ice time might be at least part of the issue. Tryamkin demanded NHL time right from the start, and apparently wants more than just third-pairing minutes. Perhaps he would have gotten that in Vancouver next season — but we’ll never find out.

The Russian also struggled with the language and being away from home. Maybe it was just time for him to go back.

But, this is all pure speculation. All we know is that Tryamkin won’t be around for the 2017-18 campaign.

With that, the Canucks’ D-depth suddenly doesn’t look so great anymore. One of the top youngsters is gone, and they will need to find an adequate replacement.

Perhaps this opens the door for Finnish defenseman Miro Heiskanen, whom many view as the top D-man in this year’s draft class. Heiskanen has spent his draft year playing professionally in Finland and might be the most pro-ready prospect in the draft.

As to Tryamkin, he will be missed. At least Vancouver retains his NHL rights in case he ever decides to come back.