It seems like a long time ago that Nikolay Goldobin was in North America, lighting it up for the Utica Comets. In reality, that was just two years ago and Goldobin isn’t even 27 yet. The former Vancouver Canucks forward won’t be coming back just yet though, as he has signed a new one-year contract extension with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL.
The same could be said about Joakim Nordstrom, who played in the NHL even more recently, spending 2020-21 with the Calgary Flames. The Swedish forward won’t be staying in the KHL but has signed a new two-year deal with HC Davos in Switzerland.
Goldobin, 26, was a first-round pick of the San Jose Sharks in 2014, and quickly worked his way to the NHL after putting up strong numbers in the OHL, Liiga, and AHL. By 2017 however, he was on his way to Vancouver in a deadline deal for Jannik Hansen, as the Sharks had their eyes on the Stanley Cup. With the Canucks, Goldobin was quickly given a full-time opportunity in the NHL, even reaching 27 points in 63 games during the 2018-19 season.
But after spending another year nearly entirely in the minor leagues, he bolted for the KHL and the team decided not to qualify him. After a so-so 2020-21, Goldobin was back in the driver’s seat this year, and became one of the most reliable players in the entire KHL. With 39 points in 42 regular season games and then another 18 in 23 postseason contests, he would ave likely been on a few radars around the NHL. He still will be next year, especially if he can provide a repeat performance in 2022-23.
While Nordstrom never had the kind of upside that Goldobin represents, he was a more consistent NHL player. His defense and checking were enough to land him a full-time role for many years, racking up nearly 500 games in the league. After appearing at the Olympics and World Championship for Sweden, he’s off to a new challenge in Switzerland, where a two-year deal will likely remove any thoughts of a return to North America.