And so it begins. The Canucks have signed the BIG Russian to a two year deal that is basically a one way deal (instead of going to the AHL, Big Nik' would just prefer the KHL, thank you very much), and one that comes with a whole bunch of hype, potential, and the comparisons to Zdeno Chara that come with being 6'8 and...well, why don't I just let Jim Benning describe him here:
"He’s 6-foot-8, 240 (pounds) and mobile. He’s a freak."
That is something to get excited about. As I've followed his progress in the KHL (as best as one can in the news),it seems this past year is when his game took a jump. Beggars can't be choosers when it comes to getting the clips from the YouTube machine though, so this one (the one from the Province report) is from 2014-15.
I like it. Get him into the team for the end here, get a few games to get a read on where he is as far as the NHL versus the KHL, and then have the entire offseason to have him on a program, etc. All the things that the Canucks excel at as far as fitness and preparing their athletes goes.
Plus, he is basically a power forward ( the NBA kind ) on skates, and if a man that big can move as gracefully as Mr Benning seems to think he can, than just having a a guy with those physical attributes is going to be fun to watch. The top of that "potential" is where comparisons to Chara become real, because if I remember correctly, Zdeno took a while in Ottawa ( hence them giving up on him ), he was not known for his skating then, to say the least. Chara can still get around, and big legs mean big strides, but if the GM is highlighting his skating in his introduction, then...damn. I am excited to see that !
Plus, he can bring it as far as the shot goes. The radio report I heard was that it is occasionally wild, but then again, it was sports radio. Either way, someone to get excited about as the team moves forward. No reports as to how soon he will get into the lineup, but he has been playing all year, so I can't see them delaying it too long. Maybe we get to see him by the weekend?