The Vancouver Canucks have had a season where they learned a lot about their young players. They have some stars on their hands, but the team may be ready to give up on Nikolay Goldobin.
Vancouver Canucks fans have been treated to watching Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Bo Horvat this year. These three young stars have emerged this year and shown they are ready to be the core of the Canucks for years to come.
Lost in the crowd, however, is another young forward in Nikolay Goldobin. Goldobin was acquired a couple of years back from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Jannik Hansen. At the time, Goldobin was an exciting young prospect who was a near point-per-game player in the AHL the year of the trade.
This year, Goldobin found a spot on the first line almost right out of training camp, and was credited by general manager Jim Benning as outplaying Sam Gagner for the roster spot. Goldobin was having himself a nice start to the season, and was fourth on the Canucks in points when he landed in head coach Travis Green’s doghouse.
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Green’s doghouse is not a place any player wants to be, but for some young players who have spent time as healthy scratches, such as Ben Hutton and Sven Baertschi, the tough love from Green helps to better their game in the long run. Hutton and Baertschi both went through a similar situation to Goldobin, but both of them turned out to be better players as a result.
The main issue with Goldobin in the eyes of his coaches was his play away from the puck. When he returned to the lineup, he was visibly much more focused on his defensive play than he had been before. Then the second stint in the doghouse began. This time, Green said that Goldobin wasn’t bringing enough offensively and that he needed to bring more to the table if he wanted to be a mainstay in the NHL.
Agree or disagree, it doesn’t matter because Green and his staff are the ones who decide who plays and who sits. They have made the decision lately to play Tim Schaller over Goldobin for the final stretch of games, and I think that sends a rather clear message to all parties. The Canucks, if they haven’t already, are very close to giving up on Goldobin.
No one knows how many games Goldobin will play in during these final weeks of the season, but the Canucks may very well be looking to move him this offseason. I have liked some of the things Goldobin has done this season, but I also understand Green’s decision to bench him.
Say what you want about Green and his decision making, but at the end of the day, he is going to give ice time to players who play the way he wants them to. Green has an idea of how he wants his players to compete, and ultimately, Goldobin’s failure to play that way may be the deciding factor in the Canucks’ decision on him.
Goldobin will be a restricted free agent at the end of this season, so he will remain under club control. Do you think Goldobin will be back with the Canucks next year? Let me know in the comments section below!