Coming to grips with Nikita Tryamkin has been an exhausting exercise from the onset. That hasn’t changed as he enters his second season in North America. And it might not get easier by the time his third season rolls around either.
There were questions about the 6’7″ Russian from the moment Vancouver selected him during his third tour at the draft. His time in the KHL thereafter did little to shed light on their investment too.
Until about two months into his KHL swansong last season, that is. Tryamkin began to see an appreciable increase in ice time and by the time he’d made his way onto my television for the Spengler Cup he was playing a premier role in his team’s top four. By the turn of spring, he’d come to Vancouver a beacon of hope in an otherwise bleak season.
No sooner than he’d arrived, though, hope turned to hype. Usually these hype trains sustain themselves on media fodder, but it was Tryamkin himself who threw coal into the fire when he intimated in a Jason Botchford article at The Province that he could be better than Zdeno Chara.
It’s been six months since that article and the landscapes shifted drastically. Never mind Chara. Tryamkin can’t outduel Alex Biega for time in the Canucks lineup. If today’s Troy Stecher call-up is any indication, he might’ve fallen behind another on the defensive depth chart.
The bigger they are, the harder they fall. By the sounds of it, Tryamkin’s a lot bigger this season, too. Think horizontal. There are several numbers out there regarding Tryamkin’s weight, but the one I hear most often is 265 lbs.
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) October 19, 2016
The Canucks have a ‘program’ for Tryamkin and based on Botchford’s commentary on this podcast it centres mostly on getting him back in shape.
In spite of their best efforts, it doesn’t involve a conditioning stint in the AHL, though. Apparently, the Canucks tried to go that route. Tryamkin, who’s contract has an out-clause to return to the KHL if he’s sent down, refused to play in Utica outright.
Which begs the question of whether his current role with the Canucks benefits their short-term goals better than the long-term harm it will cause his development to miss reps.
History suggests the Canucks will need Tryamkin at some point down the road. It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s the case in November. By that same token, they could get lucky and not suffer many injury setbacks. If that’s the case, Tryamkin’s spending weeks or months at a time in the press box.
In all likelihood, the best scenario for player and team alike is for Tryamkin to head to the KHL. It gives the club a chance to look at Andrey Pedan or Troy Stecher in the interim and allows Tryamkin the ice time necessary to round out his game.
It would also have the added benefit of nipping a potentially toxic scenario in the butt. I can’t imagine Tryamkin is overly keen on spending weeks at a time in the press box. That’s not a scenario I would invite were I the Canucks. And they run a very real risk of doing just that if they continue on this path.