Report: Canucks sign Russian defenceman Nikita Tryamkin

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After days of speculation and rumours, the Vancouver Canucks have finally signed 2014 third round pick Nikita Tryamkin to a two-year entry level contract according to a report from News 1130.

Tryamkin’s deal is a two-way contract worth $872,000 in the NHL and $70,000 in the AHL.

The 21-year-old Tryamkin has an option to return to Russia if the Canucks try to send him to the minors next season.

Tryamkin’s season ended last Thursday after his team was eliminated in the first round of the KHL playoffs.

The native of Yekaterinburg, Russia had his KHL contract set to expire on April 30, thus the Canucks needed to get him released before then to have him play this season.

Avtomobilist granted that release on Sunday to allow Tryamkin to make the leap over the Atlantic (or Pacific, depending on which way he flew).

If Tryamkin plays a game this season in the NHL, it will burn the first year of his entry-level contract. This was likely a big part of negotiation, because if Tryamkin did not sign before June 1st, he would have become a free agent and could have signed with anyone.

By the Canucks allowing him to burn that first year, he gets paid his signing bonus for this season and a pro-rated salary for the remainder of the season. If he became a UFA, because of his age, he would’ve been limited to a two-year contract.

Who is Nikita Tryamkin?

One thing you will notice when looking for a scouting report for Tryamkin, is that there isn’t really one out there. So let’s make one!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0qlB1w5iy4

Tryamkin was drafted in the third round of the 2014 NHL draft with the 66th overall selection. He had been previously passed over in the 2012 and 2013 NHL entry drafts, so there were some questions about drafting an over-age defenceman so early in the draft.

GM Jim Benning obviously saw something in the hulking 6’7″, 240-pound defenceman, and after watching Tryamkin myself a few times this season, it becomes clear what caught Benning’s eye.

Tryamkin is left handed and usually plays the left side but has also played the right side at times. With some more time on the right side, he could be a viable option there down the road.

The Russian defenceman skates very well for his size and uses his strength to box players out the centre of the ice. Given that the KHL is played on Olympic sized ice, it will be interesting to see how Tryamkin’s game translates to the NHL. The smaller rink may actually help him, as the space he will need to close between him and the attacker will be smaller.

He won’t ‘wow’ you offensively, but does possess a hard shot with the ability to make a skilled pass to allow his teammates to attack with speed.

This season specifically, he saw an increase in ice time to an average of 17:41 per game, and 21:13 per game during the playoffs. He set new career highs in goals (4), assists (7), points (11), shots on goal (80) and PIM (71). All of those improvements are great to see, as he is helping to push the play and create offence while still playing with an edge.

His last point in the KHL was an assist on the power play, where he was the net-front presence:

Canucks fans are obviously excited for Tryamkin, he is big and plays tough, which is something that the Canucks seem to lack. However, we should expect a learning curve.

It may take some time for him to adjust to the speed and skill of NHL players. And that’s exactly what these final games of this season are for.

The Canucks will get to see what Tryamkin needs to work on before they form the rest of their roster in the summer.

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Ryan Biech Hockey writer for Vancity Buzz
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