Vancouver Canucks must give Nikolay Goldobin another chance

It’s been a frustrating season for Nikolay Goldobin, but the Vancouver Canucks need to give the 23-year-old another chance to prove himself.

There’s no denying the skill set and overall talents of Vancouver Canucks forward Nikolay Goldobin, but the 23-year-old hasn’t put it altogether this season.

Goldobin — whom the Canucks acquired in a trade with the San Jose Sharks for Jannik Hansen two years ago — has just seven goals and 27 points in 63 games this season. How tough has this season been for Golden? Hard as it may be to believe, he actually had eight goals in 38 games in 2017-18. Think about that. One more goal compared to this season in 25 less games played.

The 5-foot-11 winger has been a frequent healthy scratch under head coach Travis Green. Goldobin ranks just 14th among Canuck skaters in total ice time this season, which pretty much tells the story.

Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre suggested that Goldobin “might have played his final game in Vancouver,” before Sunday’s contests against the Columbus Blue Jackets. But Josh Leivo was sick and had to miss the game, so Goldobin played instead.

Goldobin is slated to become an RFA after this season, and though general manager Jim Benning has to make some tweaks to his roster, moving on from the skilled Russian shouldn’t be among the changes.

The only Canuck forwards with a better Corsi For percentage than Goldobin (50.3), are Leivo, Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson.

Also factor in that Goldobin has a woeful 6.7 shooting percentage (10.8 for his career), and it’s quite obvious that he’s been a victim of bad luck more than anything else.

Now you factor in his young age, top-flight speed and all-around skill.

Put it altogether, and you get a talented player who simply has been nothing more than unlucky — and it doesn’t help that the coaching staff has cut back significantly on his ice time.

The Canucks would be wise to give Goldobin a one-year “prove it” deal and see if he can finally put it together next season. Jake Virtanen found himself in a similar situation than Goldobin, and he’s been showing signs of breaking out over the last two years.

Next: Can the Canucks stay healthy next season?

Some players require extra time and care before they finally get it together. Goldobin won’t get that chance in Vancouver unless they trust him to turn it around next season. Even though he’s in coach Green’s doghouse, it’s up to Benning to give Goldobin one more chance to break out in 2019-20.

*Stats courtesy of Hockey Reference*