The KHL Might be the Lesser of all Evils for Nikita Tryamkin

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.

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.

  • Whackanuck

    I add the frequent misuse of “roll” for “role” and “fair” for “fare”. It’s not hard to download a free grammar app. Apparently it is better to keep proper grammar in the metaphorical press box than to write well. But whom am I too circle the wagons around miner details. I understand what the writer meant. 🙂

    • Dirty30

      It would be “who” not “whom” and “to” not “too” and “minor” not “miner” among others.

      And yes, it’s irritating to see even when you do it on purpose. Now that everyone has been chastised can we get back to ranting about poor hockey and leave the poor writing to the professionals?

  • tru north

    Just an observation or two … or should I say ‘too’ – lol!

    Seems that this whole thing has in a few days suddenly exploded into an issue of some sort. With some folks getting pretty worked up about it and quickly too. Calm down please.

    Don’t know everything that’s been reported or said but I’m not aware of any Canuck management comments about him being too heavy or out of shape. Lots of speculation though.
    Including this article mentioning his ‘program’ and “based on Botchford’s commentary”. Kinda speculative no?

    How much should a guy that’s 6’7″ tall weigh? Thinking that 265 lbs. is on the light side really. Anybody want to pull something from the NBA to compare that with? … and those are basketball players (No offence intended).

    Finally, while I don’t like, or agree, with him not wanting to be sent down that was the deal he negotiated. The contract he signed and is still fulfilling. How can you really blame him for that?

    Again, please settle down and be fair here.

    We all want him to do well and star for the Canucks so let’s give him a chance to learn how to.

    • Bud Poile

      Nice post.

      I am pulling for Tryamkin. We need to see how good he can play and the Canucks will need the depth-we always need depth.

      Between further injuries and a better conditioned Nikita we will have our answers.

      Six games into the season is not time to pile on the kid and his career as a Canuck.

  • Andy

    From 30 Thoughts: (http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/30-thoughts-game-changing-move-seattles-nhl-bid/)

    “3. With some time to make a few calls, here’s what I can glean on Vancouver defender Nikita Tryamkin. He has admitted he made a mistake by showing up out of shape. That disappointed the Canucks who were counting on him after he showed real promise in last season’s 13-game NHL debut. The club wanted him to stay in B.C. all summer, but he needed to go home for legitimate personal reasons. (Agent Mark Gandler declined to comment, saying only, he “doesn’t have a problem with how Vancouver is handling this” and didn’t want to inflame the situation.)

    There is an agreement in his contract that says he can go back to Russia if the Canucks want to send him to the AHL, and he remains steadfast on that point. GM Jim Benning did try to negotiate a deal with Tryamkin’s KHL club, that the player could go back as long as he’d return if Vancouver needed him, but that was a non-starter for Yekaterinburg. So, he’s practicing to get in shape. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that the Canucks are going to need him and soon. They are already hurting on the blue line, and history shows they need 12 defencemen a year.”

    I hope you’ll update the article with this new information that clarifies:
    1. What the Canucks have planned for him,
    2. How Nikita feels about the plan, and
    3. Why the KHL option isn’t as viable as previously believed.

    The season is still early; if he’s still unable to play by game 20, then we have an issue.

  • tru north

    Forever 1915 and Andy,

    Thanks for the followup guys. Appreciate the knowledge you’ve passed on.
    Does sound as if the young man has some learning to do.

    fyi only,
    – body type and frame size differences make large differences to a persons weight.

    – this Sportsnet article was posted about 10 min. after my comment.

    Now I sound like I’m nitpicking – Sorry!
    Go Canucks and kudos to all fans that care!