For a player who was passed over in two consecutive drafts, Nikita Tryamkin brought with him an inordinate amount of hype. After the Canucks inked him to a two-year entry-level contract (with some trouble), we were told he was a “freak”, he had top-four potential, and compared favourably to Zdeno Chara, all before he played his first NHL game.
There’s not a lot to unpack here, just a goal and an assist over a 13-game sample. I’m not of the mind that a defenseman has to be a physical force to be effective, but it is nice to see someone who’s billed as such to average over two hits per game. Considering Tryamkin’s towering 6’7″, 230-pound frame, it’s quite likely a great many of those hits were punishing to boot.
Tryamkin’s Corsi-For% of 43.47% is the worst mark among Canucks defenders, albeit over a very small sample size. Still, a -4.87% Corsi Relative is mighty ugly no matter how you spin it.
Tryamkin fares much better by the goal-based metrics, posting a positive GF%Rel, although his on-ice save percentage of .926 likely had more of an effect on those numbers than his actual play.
Scoring chance data doesn’t shine favourably on Tryamkin either. He surrendered scoring chances at the worst rate among all Canucks skaters, with the exception of Alex Grenier.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to make of Nikita Tryamkin when the Canucks selected him with their third-round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. I believed the team had better options than to place a bet on an over age KHL defenseman without much offensive pedigree.
I have to admit, however, that he’s much further along than I expected him to be at this point in his development. Playing 13 games at the NHL level as a 21-year-old is nothing to sneeze at, even if his underlying numbers over that period weren’t particularly inspiring.
The shot-attempt metrics don’t paint a pretty picture, but I think it’s fair to say that we shouldn’t draw any conclusions from them yet, given that Tryamkin was playing on garbage time, acclimatizing to the smaller ice surface, and battling a language barrier. The Canucks’ season was already lost by the time Tryamkin suited up for the Canucks, so it’s entirely possible his small sample of games tells us absolutely nothing about what he’s capable of going forward.
He may not have appeared in many games, but between the contract fiasco, skating straight into the boards in his first practice, and playing an entire two minutes on the PK, his season was memorable all the same. He also displayed good vision and a nice wrister on this goal, the first of his NHL career, against the Calgary Flames:
It remains to be seen just what exactly the Canucks have in Nikita Tryamkin, but he has a long way to go before he’s the top-four Zdeno Chara-clone the organization seems to think he can be. The Canucks look to be very crowded on the blueline heading into next season, and Tryamkin has a clause in his contract allowing him to return to the KHL should he fail to make the Canucks’ roster, so he’ll certainly be a player worth keeping tabs on heading into the 2016-17 season.