Canucks Army Year In Review: Nikita Tryamkin

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.

Crunching Numbers 


Nikita Tryamkin Boxcars

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.


Nikita Tryamkin Corsi 

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.


Nikita Tryamkin Goal-Based 

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 Chances: 

Nikita Tryamkin Scoring Chances 

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.

  • Ho Borvat

    The big T-man is still very young and made some mistakes but definitely chalk some of that up to acclimatizing himself to a smaller ice surface and a language barrier. Love the clip of him and Lidster trying to communicate on the bench – The thing that stood out to me the most is when he leveled two Ducks in the corner and didn’t appear to be backing down from anyone. The look in his eyes said that he’s not afraid and not willing to back down. The organization has been screaming for this for years and no matter how many Dorsets, Prusts or Bieksas you have on the team, you need bigger and tougher combatives on the roster to set a presence. In the KHL, if it’s a clean hit and you staple someone big time, there is way more chance you will get a penalty for that as opposed to the NHL. The man obviously has incredible strength and it was apparent that he was trying to figure out how hard he could hit the first few games. I wish him all the luck in the world in translating his game to a top 4 role and he’s the player I’m most excited to watch come September.

  • OilCanHarry

    Maybe by size you can compare him to Chara. As far as skating and puck playing he is better than Chara was at this age. I watched Chara play when he was a Prince George Cougar and watching him skate was actually hurting to say the least. Like someone else said Tryamkin is one of my favorite young guys on the team.

  • Dirty30

    Tryamkin was a pleasant surprise this year and he adds both size and snarl which we’ve not seen much on the back end.

    I think that he would make any player think twice about racing for a loose puck and getting into a collision with someone of that heft. I think that one time he smacked into the Keslord and Kes seemed a little woozy after the hit.

    Plus I want to see him paired with Subban some day just for the visual contrast.

  • Dirty30

    Yeah, he’s a project.

    But, but what a great project to have. Given that he was playing in smaller rinks and being coached in a language he didn’t understand, I was pleasantly surprised.

    His skating is much better than I expected and he has a pretty active stick (which given his reach is potentially a thing of beauty). And it’s so nice to see the Ducks and Kings finally looking over their shoulders during a game.

    Roll the dice and pencil him in for third pairing duty.

  • OilCanHarry

    Is it possible to see how Tryamkin did relative to the rest of the team over the same thirteen game sample somehow? I don’t think comparing his stats over those 13 games to other Canucks’ full seasons is very telling, given the tire fire they were down the stretch, which was exceptional even by this team’s standards.

    • Cageyvet

      You beat me too it, I thought the same thing. Frankly, all stats need to be mcarefully placed into context. Tryamkin didn’t play a single game with a team that was healthy, motivated, or had a hope in hell left at making the playoffs.

      I’d also be interested in a rundown of the Corsi percentages of other teams that are in the same nether regions of the league, and what those numbers look like for proven NHL’ers, not just the kids.

      I’m curious as to whether it’s even realistic to expect all but the premiere players to sport a positive possession stat on a bottom dwelling team? And if it isn’t, then why keep dragging this into the analysis? If, on the other hand, that stat tends to be consistent with a player over time, regardless of the team’s performance, then I’m all ears.

      • Dirty30

        Well, some of the numbers posted, like CorsiRel, are relative to his teammates. The problem I have is that we are comparing his numbers over those 13 games to his teammates over the whole season. Due to injuries and general malaise, we’re not really comparing players from the same ‘team.’ Looking at Tryamkin’s possession stats when he played in line-up missing a bunch of its best players compared to his teammates’ stats over the course of the year with most of the top of the line-up healthy doesn’t really tell us much about how they compare.

  • Girlygirl

    Good research, looking forward to seeing better numbers for this new player in the coming season. I feel he’s got heart and you can’t quantify that crucial quality.

  • Girlygirl

    Come on….

    At 21 Chara wasn’t even close to being Chara. Don’t you remember Ott having to decide between Redden and Chara… Choosing Redden?? Whatever happened to that guy.

  • Mac_robson

    Was surprised that you expended so much energy annualizing such a poor accumulation of data as if it was suitable.. like looking for the gunman on the grassy knoll. This looks like a good kid and watched him paired with Pedal he looked the better of the two. A longer period next year should give you a few more lines on the cosmic or corsci or worseci or whatever you guys go on about?

  • Dirty30

    Those possession numbers are ugly. Canucks have too many dmen that need to be sheltered, time to cut bait with some of them and splurge on a legit top 4 dman who can play hard minutes in his own zone or the canucks are going to be a lottery team again.

  • Whackanuck

    With all the talk about Tryamkin’s out clause, I haven’t heard anything about what kind of dough he was making in the KHL. With the devalued rubble, I would imagine he’d make more money here even if he was up and down from Utica and only got 20 games in the show?? I just don’t see him exercising it. I expect him to be on our third pairing next year anyway.

    • Dirty30

      The fact that Tryamkin’s people requested/Benning inserted the “KHL out” clause into his ELC suggests there is a very real opportunity that he uses it. Any mention of Utica and I bet this dude is on the first thing smoking back to Russia…

      Why would we even consider putting him in the AHL anyways? He was probably our third best defenseman during the last quarter of the season (Tanev, Hutton), the fanbase was been dreaming of a d-man with this particular skillset (forever?).

      He’s with the Canucks next year, probably in the top-4.

  • Whackanuck

    I hope the Blues win the cup this year because that means delusional Canuck fans will have one less team as an excuse to say ” you see, there’s one team that’s never won a cup too!”