Photo Credit: Sergei Belski / USA TODAY Sports
The Vancouver Canucks will reportedly allow Ronalds Kenins to test unrestricted free agency, the News 1130 Sports twitter feed revealed on Wednesday.
Kenins, 25, will be a Group VI unrestricted free agent, having failed to play sufficient games at the NHL level to merit a qualifying offer. The club decided against bringing him back and its been reported that he didn’t have much interest in returning anyway.
The decision to let Kenins walk doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Though the young Latvian power forward showed well in the second half of the 2014-15 campaign while caddying for Jannik Hansen and Bo Horvat on a productive fourth line, he was mostly invisible in a short stint at the NHL level in 2015-16.
His approach in 2014-15 was reminiscent of one of Ramsay Bolton’s hounds, starved for seven days, just in terms of the way he forechecked like he hadn’t been fed raw meat in far too long. That level of intensity was non-existent in his eight games this past season though.
In addition to his lacklustre performance at the NHL level this past season, Kenins never demonstrated a consistent scoring touch at the AHL level. When you consider that the Canucks are intent on giving Emerson Etem a shot and that other younger wingers like Brendan Gaunce and Alexandre Grenier accomplished more at the AHL level and were more impactful in similarly short stints with the Canucks last season, it’s hard to figure where Kenins would have really fit in with the organization going forward anyway.
Perhaps Kenins can re-find that physical game and carve out a niche as an energy-type fourth-line winger with another organization. Based on what the Latvian-born forward has shown in his time with the Canucks organization though, it doesn’t appear that he’s a particularly good bet to go on to a long NHL career based on what he’s shown so far.