Vancouver Canucks: Nikolay Goldobin is showing confidence in early season

(Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

It’s still very early in the season and we have a long way to go but one of the biggest questions I had going into the season was what will Nikolay Goldobin be able to accomplish in 2018-19.

An early link up with Vancouver Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson has proved to be a stupendous on ice combination for Nikolay Goldobin.

Moving forward after the EP40 injury, Goldy has shown that he is playing with more confidence compared to last season, let’s talk about why and how.

The former 27th overall pick in the 2014 NHL entry draft has shown many small signs of brilliance in his young professional hockey career. Scoring in his first game for the Canucks — and then being sat for leaving the zone too early — dangling through Drew Doughty last season as if he was a scarecrow on skates was another beautiful show of skill.

He was paired up with the young Canucks superstar in the making Pettersson during the preseason, and Goldobin has shown a knack of knowing where to be to receive a tape to tape passes from his majesty EP40.

It’s no secret that Goldy possesses many traits that create a NHL top scorer. He has speed, a good, quick shot and knows where to be to have the best chance for a scoring opportunity. The problem is what seems to be missing from his game.

I’ve been a big fan of Goldy since he made his debut for the Canucks, his offensive mind is something that they haven’t really had on their team for a while — a forward that loves nothing more than scoring goals.

There is a definite boost of self-confidence when you announced on the opening night roster, starting in the top-six forward group. It is still early, but we are seeing a trend of Goldy getting more offensive zone starts compared to last season. (57.8% in 2017-18, 61.1% in 2018-19)

That likely is due to the Canucks offseason additions, not only the bottom six guys like Jay Beagle, Tim Schaller and Antoine Roussel but also the addition and use of EP40. The Canucks clearly don’t want the Pettersson line playing a ton of minutes in their own zone, they want that line as close to the opponents net as much as possible.

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There just seems to be something in Goldy’s brain that is clicking right now, he has been way better in the defensive zone so far this season. Back-checking and breaking up passes in the defensive zone is something he talked about working on last season.

An engaged Goldobin is all Canucks fans want. He was the one who went out there and won that top-six winger spot out of preseason and the combination of Pettersson, Goldobin and Loui Eriksson was getting a lot of scoring chances together.

Goldobin has the smarts and speed to keep up with Pettersson, and that will hopefully be a pair that we see a lot during the season.

Goldy has taken over in Pettersson’s spot on the first unit power play as EP40 recovers from his injury and that is a spot that we wouldn’t have seen Goldy play in the past.

Head coach Travis Green has developed more trust in Goldy during this early season winning that the Canucks have been up to. I would still love to see Jake Virtanen on that line with Goldy and Pettersson, but I get why Eriksson is in that spot. Eriksson brings a veteran presence to two young up and coming NHLers, lets not forget that Goldy is only barely 23 years old.

If that line of Goldy-Pettersson-Virtanen came together that line would have an average age of just over 21 years old. I wrote about them three months ago: The youngest line in Canucks history

It has been a good start to the season for a guy that many had questions about during the offseason, it’s just a start but at the same time it is a good start. I’m a Goldobin fan and love what he brings to the ice every night. More offensive opportunities are coming for a young Goldobin, and I truly feel that he could be a great middle six scoring winger on a playoff team.

Though we may be a few years away from the Canucks being that said “Playoff Team,” the thing I love to see is how that playoff team is coming together. Goldy is a piece that the Canucks should keep in offensive situations. He doesn’t belong on a fourth line playing small minutes with non-offensive minded players.

dark. Next. Where is Mason Raymond now?

Keeping Goldobin engaged is what the team needs to do and the early chemistry that he has shown with his current linemates is a great sign as the Canucks need all the potential scoring they could ask for.

Goldy is a growing as a player and is only 23 years old! Get on the Goldy train folks, he worked hard in the offseason and has come back a better player. He is also our closest connection to Nikita Tryamkin, and I really miss that dude.