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Canucks Player Autopsy: Ronalds Kenins

We mentioned him back in January as a minor league prospect to watch...

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Who's this guy? Ronalds Kenins, aka Kenins-ball

Position: LW

Shoots: R

Height: 6'0"

Weight: 200 lbs.

Born: February 28, 1991 in Riga, Latvia

Undrafted free agent signee by the Canucks on July 30, 2013.  Kenins was plucked off of the ZSC Lions roster of the Swiss National League A.

Throughout his journey to the NHL, Kenins has played under some really well known NHL (and former NHL) coaches including former 'Nucks bench boss, Marc Crawford.  Another previous mentor, Bob Hartley reflects on his relationship with a stubborn 18 year old Latvian kid here.

What'd he do?

Kenins started his first season in North America as a member of the Utica Comets.  He played 36 games, putting up a 12 points to go along with 23 PIMs.  Obviously his intangibles were enticing enough to convince Trader Jim to buy Ronalds a plane ticket to Vancouver... It turned out to be a one way ticket as the Latvia wrecking ball stayed with the big club for the remainder of the season.

Hey look, he even scored a playoff goal this year:

So was he any good?

At the beginning of the season, very few people had Kenins pegged for a spot on the big club.  For him to be a part of the 4th line with Horvat & Dorsett at the end of the season should indicate that he was pleasantly better than expected.

As an NHL player, he was okay.  He put up 4 goals and 8 assists in 30 games which is more or less replacement level production for a 4th liner.  His 8 PIMs was pretty low for a guy who plays the game with a bit of truculence.

Don't hit the Kenins-ball... It won't end well for you!

What'd we like?

Tenacity.  When Kenins played hard, he made life difficult for the opposition.  Even though hits are an arbitrary stat, he outhit linemate Bo Horvat by 1 in less than half of the games played.  That said, it does show us that Kenins is a guy who hits things lots!  He was relentless on the forecheck; never meeting an opponent he wouldn't finish his check on.  The video that follows is pretty long, but if you go to the 7 minute mark and watch that specific shift you can see exactly what Kenins brings to the ice!

Value.  720K was a pretty nice value for a player who had good chemistry with our rookie 4th line Center.  He is an RFA this offseason, but with the stats that he has posted to date in the AHL and NHL I don't imagine that he will be too expensive to resign on a 2 year deal.

Cool. So what did we hate?

He kinda just wore out by the end of the season.  Granted there's a huge difference between a full season in Switzerland (50 game season) and the full 82 games in the NHL, but Kenins ran out of steam after 66 games this year.  Hopefully Kenins understands exactly what he needs to get out of his body so that it's ready to put in the hundred or so games that comprise an NHL season (yeah I counted a li'l playoff action in that total).

Lack of scoring... Kinda.  Surprisingly enough, Kenins was only behind Bonino (and Baertschi if you count his minimal games played) in points per 60 minutes.  So maybe what I hate is that he didn't earn more minutes so that he could continue to produce points.

So what now?

Rolands Kenins is the feel good story about a boy who left home at age 15 to pursue a career in hockey.  With his ELC over, Kenins will be looking for a one way contract with some assurance that he's going to be playing in Vancouver next season.  This should be an easy resign in my opinion because he will be looking for a slight pay increase and has established chemistry with Horvat.

gmonk33's Rating: A+ for exceeding expectations as a GMMG depth signing in 2013;  B- for his hitting and forechecking; C for wearing down by season's end; Overall: C+