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Photo Credit: © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

77 Reasons Nikolay Goldobin belongs in the lineup

Maybe you’re new here (like I am) but CanucksArmy has the two leaders of the #FreeGoldy movement on its staff now, and with that, comes the second of our campaign to do just that, and free Nikolay Goldobin from the shackles the Vancouver Canucks have placed on him.

Okay, maybe that’s a little over the top, but I felt like this needed to be done. Who better to do this article with me than my new coworker Chris Faber himself? To be clear, I didn’t come up with all these reasons myself, in fact Chris actually came up with more than I did, I just did the hard work of compiling and formatting the list. Faber and I made the decision to collaborate on this piece from the moment I had decided to join CanucksArmy, and now it’s here. Sit back, and enjoy this wonderfully strange list of what was originally 77 reasons the Canucks should call up number 77, but has been tweaked to 77 reasons Nikolay Goldobin belongs in the Canucks’ lineup.

1. His scoring abilities. The Canucks had no problem scoring goals to begin the season, but have been in a bit of a rut since the start of November. Goldobin has more scoring ability than some players currently on the Canucks roster, some of whom aren’t necessarily in checking roles.

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2. Can play three spots on the power play. Goldobin has been able to play both half wall spots and the bumper position. He would likely be on the second power play unit and should be used with the intention of setting up some Gaudette powerplay goals.

3. That hat trick with the Comets. Goldobin just recently scored a hat trick down in Utica, and now has eight goals in 18 games.

4. We’d get to see more celebrations from Adam Gaudette. Due to Goldy feeding Gaudette for some more power play goals, we would see some more legendary celebrations from the Hockey Gaud.

5. Lower emissions if he plays and stays. We all know how much Vancouverites care about the environment. Extra plane rides to get Goldobin to and from Utica does damage not only to our feelings, but also to the ozone layer.

6. He’s a quiet kid. Quinn Hughes. Elias Pettersson. Nikolay Goldobin. What do these three have in common? They’re all quiet kids. For any parents out there, you know there’s nothing better than having quiet kids around, and the same goes for a hockey team.

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7. He works hard. Hughes, Pettersson, Goldobin. What else do these three have in common? They all work hard in the gym and strive to find new ways to improve. Goldobin’s workout videos on Instagram prove just that.

8. Good fit in the room. Bo Horvat told me that when young guys come in, don’t say much, and work hard, they’ll always be a fit in the Canucks’ room. If the Captain approves, I’d say that’s a pretty good reason.

9. Goldy is a sick nickname. When you remember how weak some of the other Canucks players’ nicknames are, this one makes sense. Mysie? Really?

10. Doesn’t like to chip the puck in. He was quoted at training camp saying that he likes to play with Pettersson because they “Don’t chip in a lot of pucks”. We saw the frustration on Elias Pettersson a couple weeks ago when Quinn Hughes decided to chip the puck in when Pettersson could have had a partial breakaway and it resulted in Pettersson smashing his stick on the ice.

11. A stable winger for Pettersson. Ever since moving J.T. Miller to the second line, the Canucks have been unable to find a stable winger to play with Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson on the first line. Goldobin deserves another chance to prove he can be that winger

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12. His past success with Pettersson. Goldobin and Pettersson played well together when they were on the first line last season, but some of that can certainly be attributed to Pettersson’s early success in the goal-scoring department.

13. Pettersson’s focus has shifted to setting up teammates, perfect for Goldobin. Since teams have read the scouting report on Pettersson and his goal scoring capabilities, the 2019 Calder Trophy Winner has found new ways to be successful, and that’s by using his elite hockey IQ to his advantage to set up teammates. This works perfectly for Goldobin.

14. The two have the “European Connection”. If you know, you know.

15. His defensive game has improved in Utica. The job of the Utica Comets is to develop players who can play for the Canucks, but more importantly, can play for Canucks head coach Travis Green, and that involves being responsible at both ends of the ice. Goldobin’s recent play would suggest that the young forward may be starting to “get it”.

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16. Thinks the game with a “one extra pass” mentality. Goldy called it “European style” when Chris Faber talked to him at training camp but what he was talking about it looking for the extra pass to open up a lot of tap in goals.

17. Can take a joke. Adam Hadwin joined up to give some “tips” to Canucks players on the golf course before the season began. He messed with Goldobin and his swing pretty hard and Goldy just couldn’t stop smiling.

18. He’s coachable. If Goldobin actually took the advice to hold a driver like this, he’s open to any suggestions the Canucks coaching staff have for how he can improve his chances at a lengthy NHL career.

19. It’s a a contract year. Goldobin knows that he needs to prove that he can play in the NHL to get a contract next season. Whether that be in Vancouver or somewhere else we will have to see.

20. Low expectations, high potential. Most people probably didn’t even make it this far into the article because a majority of Canucks fans believe that Goldobin is just a really good AHL player. Bring him up to play with Pettersson for a run of games and watch your low expectations disappear.

21. Shootout option. Goldy may not be good enough to shoot 1,2,3 on the Canucks but when you see Josh Leivo being thrown out early in the shootout for the Canucks you have to think that someone as skilled as Goldobin would be an improvement over some of the guys in their rotation.

22. The Audi commercial would be less awkward. There are few things as awkward as watching Nikolay Goldobin’s Audi commercial still run during stoppages in play of Canucks broadcasts. I guess the guys at Capilano Audi (great guys by the way), didn’t get the memo on Goldy being sent down.

23. It’s time to reunite the Audi boys. Speed. Agility. Power. Pettersson, Goldobin, and now even Jacob Markstrom are big fans of these things. All three have done a commercial for Capilano Audi and been given a car for the season as a result. It’s time for Goldobin to be reunited with his Audi-driving teammates.

24. He’s kept a good attitude in Utica. Goldobin didn’t go down to Utica and pout. He doesn’t think he’s higher than the team, and is embracing his time in Utica, all the while putting together the best case he can for why he deserves to be back up in the NHL.

25. He hasn’t gone back to the KHL yet. As a Russian player, it’s much easier to just pack your bags and go home to play in the KHL when the going gets tough, so you have to give Goldobin some credit for not doing that.

26. He loves Vancouver, unlike another Russian Canuck. Nikita Tryamkin’s time in Vancouver was filled with hope, frustration, and anger. Tryamkin decided to go home to play in the KHL after not being satisfied with his ice time, and allegedly didn’t like the city. His interactions with the club on social media would suggest otherwise, however.

27. He has just one minor penalty this season. The fact that Goldobin has improved defensively and has taken just one minor penalty in the process is a great sign for the Canucks.

28. The message of sending Loui Eriksson to the minors is stronger. The Canucks and Travis Green have tried just about everything to try to get Eriksson going. With three years remaining on his contract, Eriksson has zero points through 13 games played this season. Eriksson is not bringing much to the lineup, and the chances of him bouncing back after a stint in the minors are larger than Goldobin’s.

29. He brings more to the Canucks than others. I was a big advocate for keeping Sven Baertschi in the lineup out of training camp, but he really hasn’t done much with the opportunity he has been given to this point, which is why he’s currently sitting in the press box.

30. He is the best call-up option if the Canucks need someone to play in the top-six. Reid Boucher’s time may have passed, Kole Lind is not ready yet and Justin Bailey probably shouldn’t be in an NHL team’s top six right now. Goldobin would be the best option for the Canucks if they need a top six call-up.

31. He embarrassed Drew Doughty in 2017. Goldobin shouldn’t be embarrassing a “Defenceman Like That”, but he did.

32. Jim Benning has seen improvement from him. After Jim Benning signed Goldy he said that Goldobin has “taken steps to round out his game.” and that “Nikolay is a gifted offensive player who has shown good chemistry with some of our other younger players,” Benning said. “We’re excited to see continued improvement from him this season.” He’s shown the improvement in Utica, now it’s time to see if that can translate to the NHL.

33. He would be the Canucks’ cheapest top six forward. Assuming that Zack MacEwen doesn’t last for long in the top six, Goldobin would be making less than Elias Pettersson makes on his entry deal and would therefore be the cheapest top six forward.

34. He’s a hockey player, through and through. We saw Goldobin hold the golf club like a hockey player in this video and something about holding a driver like that screams Russian hockey player. Here’s a picture of Goldy on the golf course back in 2016.

35. Goldobin is a free top six addition for the Canucks. 

36. He’s often in “wrong spot” on the ice, but the “right spot” for Pettersson. Goldobin talked about it at training camp when asked about playing with Pettersson. “He’s just a great player, when I’m on the ice sometimes I’m in a position where I’m not supposed to be but there are openings and he sees that, it’s great to play with him.”

37. He’s still young. Remember, Goldobin just turned 24 last month.

38. Loves winning, hates losing. Thomas Drance wrote an article after his trip to Utica. Goldobin was asked what he thought about the Comets hot start and cold streak right after. He said that he loves winning and hates losing no matter what league it is.

39. Learned about the NHL from Igor Larionov. Goldy’s first agent was Igor Larionov. Larionov played almost 1000 games in the NHL and won multiple international medals and three Stanley cups. Not a bad guy to learn from if you ask me.

40. Smiles more than Ben Hutton. Ben Hutton lead the Canucks in smiles/60. Nikolay Goldobin wants to be back with the Canucks and if he was playing alongside Pettersson I’d expect to see a lot of smiling faces on number 77.

41. Pettersson would be the shooter on a line of Goldobin-Miller-Pettersson. Perhaps letting Pettersson play more wing could open up his offensive game even more. Miller has been excellent in the faceoff dot but breaking up Boeser and Pettersson would scare a lot of Canucks fans. Though it does find Bo Horvat a winger. (This one’s so bold that I thought I should throw in a disclaimer that this was Faber’s idea.)

42. Mouthguard flow. Everybody loves a good mouthguard hang and Goldobin would bring that to the team.

43. Goldobin has been healthy most of his career. The only time he missed over the past two seasons have been healthy scratches.

44. He is different from all the team’s other wingers. The Canucks have players like Josh Leivo and Tanner Pearson on their top lines. Goldobin brings a very different set of skills as a winger and could shake up the top end scoring.

45. He has been getting good practice passing to the right side to a left handed one-timer. Goldobin has been on the first powerplay unit in Utica and has been feeding Reid Boucher one timers all season. Reid Boucher fires his electric shot from the exact same spot as Pettersson.

46. He has something to prove and worked in the offseason at getting more physical and aggressive. Goldobin looks as though he has improved on that type of game and though he misspelled his name, our Utica Comets insider Cory Hergott has taken notice as well!

47. Goldobin is the only player I know with the middle name “Sergeevich”. It’s gotta be rare, especially in the Canucks organization.

48. I’ll shut up about #FreeGoldy once he is given a run alongside Pettersson. I just need to see one more opportunity for the Golden Petey connection. Not having to hear Quads and I talk about Goldobin any longer, especially when you’ve made it this far into the article, should be paramount reason why you too like the fact Goldobin was called up.

49. Used Instagram filters better than any other Canucks player. He must do a lot of tough yard work because he has a ton of rips in his jeans. @goldy_78 on IG.

50. He needed to improve this offseason and he did. Travis Green has said that “the onus is on us to continue to work with him and develop him, then the onus is going to go back to the player. I’d like to see Goldy make some changes this summer in how he trains and what he does over the summer to make himself come in a better hockey player.” I spoke with Goldobin’s trainer from russia this offseason and he talked about Goldobin trying to be more aggressive like he was when he was a teenager. He knows what to do but just needs to do it more consistently.

51. He’s played well when the team is trailing. Goldobin had a positive shot share and Corsi% when he was on the ice and the Canucks were trailing in a game last season.

52. Goldobin’s name is easy to make into puns. “The Goldy Touch” “Make Pettersson Gold Again” “Golden Opportunity Squandered by Goldobin”. They are easy to make and fun for us at CanucksArmy.

53. Worked with other skilled NHLers in the offseason. Mikael Sergachev and Nikita Gusev were training this season with Goldobin and his trainer Nikita Razdolskiy.

54. Willie Desjardins benched him, so he must be decent. After Goldobin scored in his first game as a Vancouver Canuck, Willie Desjardins benched him for leaving the zone early. Willie D thought the world of players like Jayson Megna and Michael Chaput, so maybe it’s actually a good sign that he never warmed to Goldobin.

55. Goldobin could generate some value if he lights it up with Pettersson. The Canucks should always want to add more draft picks to their team and perhaps if Goldobin can prove to be able to play on a top line with elite players he could generate some value around the trade deadline.

56. He enjoys football, hotdogs and waters. The Utica Comets enjoyed an NFL game as a team bonding experience early in the year. Goldobin said he enjoyed the football while also enjoyed some “hotdogs and waters” with his teammates. He sounds like a fun guy.

57. Pettersson lost his seatmate on the plane. To begin his NHL career, Pettersson’s seat mate was Goldobin. Sure, there was an obvious language barrier, but it didn’t matter, because neither talked much to one another, making them perfect travel buddies.

58. He’s got good fashion sense. As I wrote in my 51 reasons the Canucks shouldn’t trade Troy Stecher, having players who knows style is critical to a locker room. The first step to playing good is looking good.

59. He’s the second Canuck to wear 77. The first was Anson Carter. Maybe Goldobin can catch lightning in a bottle playing with a Superswede like Carter did? Although, he may need two in order to find success.

60. The injuries warrant a call-up. Thankfully, it appears as though the Canucks are getting healthy again, but Goldobin deserves another shot, especially since we’ve seen Zack MacEwen in the top-6 for two straight games.

61. He has an elite offensive skill set and has made huge strides in defensive game. Okay, so maybe I’m just rephrasing some prior reasons, but coming up with 77 is really hard.

62. The Canucks could use a couple Russians on the team for when Podkolzin comes. The Canucks didn’t have much luck keeping Tryamkin around, and it’s obviously tough being the only Russian player on an NHL team. When their latest first round pick, Vasily Podkolzin arrives in Vancouver, the team will want to do whatever they can to make him feel at home.

63. Everybody deserves a second third chance.

64. Ever heard of third time’s the charm? It’s a saying for a reason.

65. He knows how to cliff jump safely. If the Canucks ever decide to go cliff jumping at Allouette Lake or Lynn Canyon, management can rest easy knowing Goldobin will be there to demonstrate proper, safe, cliff jumping practices.

66. The Canucks are trying to find ways to win from within. Jim Benning went on 650 yesterday and spoke about how the Canucks are looking for internal solutions to their problems rather than trades or free agency.

67. Goldobin does not get scored on often when he’s with Pettersson. Last season Goldobin players 355 minutes alongside Pettersson and they allowed only 9 goals at 5on5. That’s a 1.52 GA/60.

68. Goldobin wants to shoot more at the NHL level. Faber talked with his trainer in the offseason and he mentioned that Goldobin wants to shoot the puck more and he worked on that alot in the offseason.

69. His offseason training included a ton of cardio and endurance work. He wanted to have longer shifts where we could be effective. His trainer mentioned that Goldobin would be tired at the end of his shifts last season and he would be in better shape this year.

70. He’s gotten a picture with Zlatan. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a legend and if you go back to Goldobin’s Instagram you can find a picture of the two together. 

71. He is still improving. Goldy has been making big strides this season when it comes to his aggressiveness on the puck.

72. He’s got a welcoming smile. When guys like Nils Hoglander, Kole Lind, Podkolzin, and other young guys arrive to the Canucks, the team will want to make them feel welcome, who better to do that than Goldobin?

73. Vancouver has made him feel very at home. He’s especially at home in his new Audi RS5 from Capilano Audi. It’s amazing to see his new city from behind the wheel. From the mountains and the ocean, to the energy of downtown, Goldobin’s Audi allows him to check out all the best parts of Vancouver in style.

74. He wants to be an NHL player. Nikolay Goldobin came over to North America as a teenager because he wanted to be an NHL player. He played two seasons in the OHL for the Sarnia Sting where he put up 94 points in 67 games during his draft year.

75. He’s made it clear he’s not giving up. Goldobin wants to be on this team, and he’s going to continue to do everything in his power to get another shot.

76. It won’t be easy to convince him to re-sign if he’s not given another shot. Goldobin likely doesn’t want to spend his career in the AHL, and since he’s an RFA at the end of this season, it may be difficult for the Canucks to convince him to come back again. All of a sudden, the Canucks depth at the winger position would be weaker.

77. Chris and I will never speak of Goldobin again. We know this article even existing is going to get a lot of you very worked up. For that, we apologize, but try to understand that 1. half of these are jokes, and 2. we will not rest until Goldobin is given another final extended opportunity to play alongside Pettersson. Once that happens, you’ll almost certainly never hear us speak of what could have been ever again; and that, is something we know many of you would love.