The KHL has claimed their first NHL victim, as Vancouver Canucks’ defenseman Nikita Tryamkin has re-signed with his old KHL club for next season. After repeating their desire to bring back some of their homegrown talent, the KHL has succeeded by baiting Tryamkin back after just one full season with the Canucks. The 22-year old defender was a restricted free agent this summer, and looked like he could be a part of the Canucks’ blueline for a long time.
Drafted in the third round in 2014, Tryamkin was always a risk to return to the KHL as he had previously warned that he would leave North America should he not stay in the NHL all season. His contract even contained an out clause should the Canucks try to send him to the AHL, likely signaling a hesitation to dedicate himself fully to the North American game. It’s hard to blame the big defender, who will be returning to play for his hometown team in Yekaterinburg.
The 6’7″ defenseman was a surprisingly good addition to the Canucks blueline this year, dealing out big hits and moving around the ice with ease. While he obviously needed some polish to his game, he could have easily turned into a solid piece on the blueline. Vancouver will now go forward without him, though they will retain his rights and keep him on their reserve list should he ever wish to come back. It’s not clear how long the contract is for, but with his youth and relative success this year, a return is not out of the question.