Nikolay Goldobin is headed to the KHL following a frustrating stint with the Vancouver Canucks, who never gave him a real chance to succeed.
On Saturday, Igor Eronko of Sport-Express reported that Goldobin signed a two-year contract with the KHL club CSKA, thus ending his brief NHL tenure. He finishes with 19 goals and 46 points in 125 NHL games (114 contests with Vancouver, 11 with the San Jose Sharks).
Goldobin was drafted 27th overall by the Sharks in 2014. Three years later, he was sent to Vancouver as part of the Jannik Hansen trade prior to the 2017 deadline.
“Goldy” showed a few flashes after arriving in Vancouver, scoring three goals in 12 games during the 2016-17 season. He showed the potential to be a capable top-six forward, with his slick skating and remarkable burst of speed.
But Vancouver never gave Goldobin much of an opportunity to reach his full potential. He only suited up for 38 games in 2017-18 (eight goals and 14 points). Those numbers suggest Goldobin would have pushed for 20 goals if he had played the entire campaign with Vancouver, but they had him play 30 games with the AHL’s Utica Comets.
Goldobin played 63 games for the Canucks last season, tallying just seven goals and 27 points. He had a lowly 6.7 shooting percentage, but his solid 50.3 Corsi For percentage suggests that Goldobin was simply a product of bad puck luck.
He averaged 14:59 time on ice per game last season, which was a fair amount. But the Canucks should have given him more looks in the top-six. Perhaps Elias Pettersson would have turned him into a capable 20-goal, 40-point man.
Goldobin didn’t produce as hoped in his first full NHL regular season campaign, but that doesn’t mean the Canucks should have given up on him. They were patient with Jake Virtanen, and that paid off immensely. They gave Sven Baertschi several years to get healthy and become a key component on this team before finally giving up this season.
So why lose patience with Goldobin and give up this early?
This isn’t to say that Goldobin would have grown into a true top-six forward for head coach Travis Green or anything. But Vancouver had nothing to lose by giving him one more year to prove himself, especially after a productive campaign in Utica (19 goals and 50 points in 51 games).
The Canucks will be fine in the top-six for the long run. Pettersson, Virtanen, Brock Boeser, J.T. Miller, Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson have all produced immensely. But you can’t help but wonder how useful Goldobin could have been in Vancouver if they gave him more time and opportunity to reach his ceiling.