Vancouver Canucks forward Nikolay Goldobin had a tough year. Here is his season grade, along with what we can expect to see from him next year.
Acquired at the 2016-17 trade deadline from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Jannik Hansen, Nikolay Goldobin appeared to be ready to be an everyday NHL player out of training camp prior to this season. At least, that’s what the Vancouver Canucks‘ management group and coaching staff thought.
Goldobin made the team and was one of the main reasons that Sam Gagner was cut from the team and sent down to the American Hockey League before being traded later in the year. Goldobin quickly found a home on the Canucks’ top line alongside Elias Pettersson and later on, Brock Boeser.
Season Grade: C+
The numbers will tell you that Pettersson and Goldobin had some rather undeniable chemistry with one another, but as the year went along, Goldobin quickly lost his scoring touch and his spot on not only the top line, but his spot in the lineup, as well. He was taken out of the lineup for not being responsible defensively, but wasn’t scoring much, either. It was a frustrating season for Goldobin.
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There were times this year where it looked like Goldobin flat out didn’t want to be there. His defensive game was a major question mark all season, and he wasn’t playing with the confidence that he seemed to have at the start of the year. While he showed flashes of offensive ability, Goldobin wasn’t good enough in the eyes of head coach Travis Green to keep his spot in the lineup.
The Canucks don’t seem to be ready to give up on Goldobin just yet, so let’s see what he can do this summer to try to earn himself a spot in the Canucks’ lineup once again.
Expectations for next year
In the end of season media availability, coach Green said of Goldobin, “The season didn’t go exactly the way he wanted, and that happens with young players. The onus is on us to continue to work with him, and develop him. I’d like to see Goldy makes changes to how he works out, so he comes back a better player”
Another player who spent time in Green’s doghouse is Ben Hutton. Hutton was continuously a healthy scratch two seasons ago, and Green was honest with him about what he needed to do in order to earn himself a spot on the team. Hutton worked out, changed his diet, and earned himself a spot in the Canucks’ lineup once again this year.
Goldobin, as a result, approached Hutton for guidance. Hutton said, “I talked to Goldy a couple times. He actually came to me. I told him it’s going to be a big summer for him…Travis was honest with me, he was straight-up with me, and he said if you put in the work, if you come back and you’re ready to perform, I’ll give you the opportunity.”
“So, I told Goldy, it’s all about just putting in the work and trusting yourself, and if he does that, he should be fine, because Goldy’s a great, young, talented player.” Goldobin then went on to talk about what Green told him specifically that he needed to work on this Summer, in their hour-long meeting at the end of the year. “He wants me to be just faster, a faster player. When you’re fast, you can get to the puck quicker and stuff. That was the message.”
So what can we expect to see from Goldobin next season? Hopefully, he will come back faster, just like Green wants him to be. We can hope to see him hustle back when his opponents break into the Canucks’ zone on an odd-man rush, and we can hope that Goldobin finds and maintains his scoring touch. Most of all, we can hope that Goldobin can earn and keep a spot in the lineup next season.
What do you think Canucks fans? Should the team try and move Goldobin, or should they wait and see if he is able to come back ready to go after what he says will be a big Summer? Let me know in the comments section below!